Completing a course

This page runs through the mechanics of completing a course at an event, including the start, out on the course, the finish, and “download”. It assumes you have entered and made it to the event in the first place – see Attending an event. It doesn’t cover how to actually find the controls or navigation techniques – see the links from the New to Orienteering page and Orienteering Maps.

The start

Once you have arrived, and are ready, head to the start. It will be clearly signed from the car park or registration area, and the flyer will say how far it is. Arrive at the start in time for your start time/block.

  • Insert your SI-card into the hole in the “Clear” station and hold it for a few seconds until it beeps. This wipes the card’s memory.
  • Insert your SI-card into the “Check” station that confirms it is working.
  • A couple of minutes before your start time the start official will get you to enter the start box (and may get you to insert your SI-card into another “Check” station).
  • When it is your start time you punch in a “Start” station which records your start time on our SI-card. The clock is now ticking!
  • Pick up the map for your course (make sure you get one for the right course) and away you go!
Punching the start box

Out on the course

On your map there will be a red triangle at the start, numbered circles at the control points to be visited in order, and a double circle denotes the finish. At each control point you will find a red and white marker on a cane with a control unit on top. There will be a control number on the unit or cane that should match the control code in the control list on your map (if it doesn’t match, you are at the wrong control!). If you have a touch-free SI-card you can just wave it within a few centimetres of the control unit. If you don’t have a touch-free SI-card you need to insert it into the unit. This is also known as “punching” a control. Either way the control unit will beep to confirm your visit has been recorded.

Punching at a control

The finish

At the finish there will a final red and white control flag, and there may also be a finish banner. Insert your SI-card into the finish unit (you need to do this at the finish, even if you have a touch-free SI-card) and it will been to confirm your finish time has been recorded.

Take a breather – you have completed your course!


Proceed at your leisure from the finish to the download tent / area. It maybe adjacent or it may be a clearly flagged short walk back. The download official will instruct you to insert your SI-card into a download station connected to the computer that will read your SI-card, including the start/finish time and all the controls you visited. All being well they will confirm you successfully completed the course and you’ll get a printout of your time and split times to each control.

What next?

Results may be on display at the event as competitors finish (with the time-trial format, you won’t know how you’ve done until everyone has completed their course). Otherwise after the event they will be posted on the club’s website, usually on the evening of the event. This will include total times and positions, as well as “split time” so you can see how you did on different controls. Results from 2024 events in the Area are found here.

Most events also link to an online tool called “Routegadget” which shows the courses and you can upload your own route (either plot it manually or upload from GPS) and compare to others. The Routegadget for CLOK can be found here, or select the club who ran the event here.