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Why orienteering is different

Map and compass

The seven point plan

At a control

Between controls

At the Start

Compass bearings

Getting lost .... and found again

Punching at the wrong control

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Why orienteering is defferent

Finding your way round a road race is fairly simple.  You start at the same time as everyone else and follow the people ahead of you until you come to the finish.  The course will probably be marked in some way, and there will be marshals at key points round the course to point you in the right direction and make sure that no-one is taking unauthorised short-cuts.

Orienteering isn't like that.  You have your own start time, so you're making your own way round the course.  There are no marshals to check that you've kept to "the course", so you have to manage the logistics of proving that you've visited all the correct control points in the right order.  And, most importantly, navigating from point to point is a crucial part of the sport.

So if you take the same approach to orienteering as you take to a road race you're going to go wrong.  Seriously wrong!

Fortunately, if you follow a few simple guidelines it's fairly straightforward to get round any of the "navigationally easier" courses; i.e. white, yellow, orange, red and purple.  This Basic Navigation section gives you an outline of the navigation techniques that will get you round an orienteering course.  As you gain experience and move on to the more navigationally challenging courses you'll be able to add more sophisticated navigational techniques and strategies, but these basic techniques will continue to form the foundation of your orienteering skills.

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