Do you like orienteering? Try these activities | Maps


A 21st century version of orienteering, geocachers rely on a GPS device, such as a smartphone, to discover waterproof containers called caches. These are cleverly hidden by other geocachers around the world, and once you find them you can log your finds online. To help you enjoy it in a scenic setting, the National Trust can even provide you with GPS devices to use at some of their sites.;

The grass is in place

Orienteering has gone digital in Scandinavia with Turf – a real-world multiplayer GPS game – and now the phenomenon is spreading here, a mix of orienteering and geocaching. Download the app to see a map showing areas and other live players walking around. Players compete for areas by traveling to them (using GPS) and automatically claim ownership once they reach them.


Sometimes described as “a drinking club with a serious racing problem”, a hash is similar to an old-fashioned paper chase or a “hare and hounds” game; players chase one person, who leaves a trail of chalk, paper, or sawdust for the main group of runners. The UK Hash House Harriers site has details of clubs and events nationwide.


If you like solving puzzles and using your creativity, the letterbox might be the activity for you. The game began in 19th century Dartmoor when moorland walkers would leave a postcard in boxes along a path for other walkers to discover.

These days, hikers go online to find clues hidden in mailboxes around the world. Each mailbox contains a notebook and a rubber stamp so that the discoverers can prove that they have found the box.

Virtual reality

As with geocaching, virtual orienteering relies entirely on the app and smartphone or GPS device to guide you. Start by downloading the app, choosing a task, then following the clues sent to your device. The app lets you compete against an online community by attempting tasks in the fastest times and comparing routes. Ideal for those who don’t want to be part of a club; make your own rules and practice anytime, anywhere.

Getting wet

If dry land isn’t a challenge for you, dive underwater – you can dive with full scuba gear and navigate courses using a compass. Visit to learn about upcoming events around the world (it’s especially popular in the Czech Republic).

If that’s too much, the Manvers Boat Club offers a canoe orienteering course on Lake Manvers in South Yorkshire.

hidden treasure

A pleasant alternative to a family walk. You download a trail guide for the area of ​​your choice from the Treasure Trails website, then follow the two-mile route past local landmarks and beautiful scenery, solving clues along the way. Once you’ve solved the puzzle, upload your answer to the website for a chance to win £1,000.

string theory

Encourage your kids’ map-reading skills – they’ll thank you later when they realize walking is a good thing – with a lanyard. The checks (the name given to the marked points) are tied together with ribbon, yarn or string and when the children reach them they use a pen and a plastic card to identify the correct position, using landmarks and a compass.

Most orienteering clubs organize events for children. To find your local group call 01629 734042 or visit the website:

Dino J. Dotson