Orienteering day near Stradbally

More than two hundred orienteers from all parts of the country are expected to converge on scenic Stradbally this weekend for a big day of orienteering.

More than two hundred orienteers from all parts of the country are expected to converge on scenic Stradbally this weekend for a big day of orienteering.

The event, which takes part on Sunday, April 1 gets underway from 11am to 1pm from Carrigmeal Woodlands Dysart and is hosted by Cllr James Deegan. All levels of orienteering skills will be catered for with events suitable for all age groups.

Orienteering is the sport of navigation on foot. The primary skill is map reading ability. The sport is particularly suitable for those who relish adventure. Orienteering brings you to new places and using the map it is very safe. The map is specially drawn for orienteering and is based on aerial photography and subsequent detailed survey. The courses are planned to set navigational challenges. The simpler courses are based on tracks and paths and can be used as a family day out in the forest.

The courses will generally take you into areas that you would not normally visit on a regular trek in the forest. There is no special equipment needed but participants must wear suitable footwear and clothing. Beginners should wear boots, light wellingtons or old runners and clothes suitable for rough terrain including full leg cover. Map reading is the skill that is the most important and a compass may be used as an aid but is not essential for navigating the simpler courses.

A detailed map has been surveyed by Oliver Clear, a native of Dysart and an orienteering map surveyor and cartographer. Pat Healy, Ireland’s most experienced and prolific orienteering cartographer, gave valuable assistance.

At the centre of each circle on the map there will be a marker at that location in the forest. The idea is to punch in at each point on your chosen course and make your way in numerical order to the finish. Everyone must report to the finish even those who do not complete the course. Part of the map and access is privately owned and CNOC is grateful to Cllr Deegan and other land owners for access

There will be 6 courses available from 8.5 kilometres to 3 kilometres which vary in difficulty. The shorter courses are planned for beginners and families. Most courses can be completed in 60 to 90 minutes. Starts are spread out so that there is no crowding on courses.

The area is not far from the Rock of Dunamaise and the event will be signposted from the Portlaoise to Stradbally road N80 (Carlow Road) and there is ample parking.

For more go to www.orienteering.ie (CNOC Orienteering Club) To bring a group please contact Oliver Clear at ollieclear@gmail.com