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What is orienteering?

Punching systems

Map and compass

Types of event

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Types of event

There are quite a lot of different types of orienteering event, including National events, multi-day events, night events, bike orienteering events, etc., etc.

The most common types of event, though, are District Events and Regional Events.

Note:  District Events used to be called Colour Coded Events, and Regional Events used to be called Badge Events.  The British Orienteering Federation (BOF) decided to change the names to try to clarify the event structure -- from small Local Events through District and Regional Events to the large-scale National Events.   Orienteers are still getting used to the new names, and you'll probably still hear people talking in terms of Colour Coded Events and Badge Events.

District Events are the "bread and butter" events in the orienteering calendar. Each event offers a range of courses of different lengths and navigational difficulties, and you can choose whichever course suits your levels of fitness, orienteering experience and competitiveness. They used to be called Colour Coded Events because the courses are identified by colours.  For example, the yellow course is very short and navigationally easy, so it's suitable for young children and absolute beginners.  By contrast, the brown course is considerably longer and much more navigationally challenging.  It's intended for the fittest and most competitive of the experienced orienteers. See the Selecting a Course page for more details of colour coded courses.

Regional Events are larger scale events.  Your competition course is determined by your age class -- although you do have a choice between a short course and a long course -- and your results count towards the national ranking system.  The adult courses at Regional Events have pretty challenging navigation, so they're not really suitable for complete beginners.  However, Regional Events almost always include three or four colour coded courses as well as the age class courses, so you can select an easier course if you wish.

District Events are almost always run on a "turn up and enter on the day" basis.  Regional Events require entries to be sent in before the event, although there are often a limited number of places available for entry on the day.  The constraint is usually the number of maps that have been printed.  Once all the maps for a given course have been allocated that course is closed to further entries on the day.

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