Lochaber Orienteering gets back on track
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Steps are underway to put a once-popular local sport back on the map, with the reform of the Lochaber Orienteering Club.
Working with Loch Eck Orienteers (EckO) in Oban, Glencoe man Chris Vind hopes to rekindle interest in the area, using the expertise of the active group, to become a satellite organisation, pioneering new routes in different areas of Lochaber.
Orienteering consists of starting from a starting point with a map and a special compass to follow instructions along a defined route to various waypoints where the participant checks in to register their arrival before leaving to find the next one on the map.
Different types of routes can be defined depending on the skill of the participants, from what would be considered relatively short walks to more complex trails and timed courses where speed and accuracy are the goal. All generally start and end at the same point.
Speaking about the new venture, Chris said: “It’s not just about running and you certainly don’t have to be an athlete to take part or enjoy it, unless that’s what you want. remove it.
“Many routes can be enjoyed by individuals just walking or even as a family event, each helping to follow directions to check-in points on the route. It can be a lot of fun and a great time outdoors.
As with most things these days, recording arrival at a checkpoint is done electronically with a ‘dibber’ that is inserted into a hole on the station, recording when it has been done. The recording also helps to ensure that the participant followed the course in the correct order and if timing is important, how long each step lasted.
Maps are specially produced to show routes and waypoints with a key to various icons that show how to identify the specific station you are at. They are also waterproof so they can be tracked in any weather.
At the moment the only routes in Lochaber are around Glencoe Lochan and Kinlochleven, but with funds remaining from the previous club it is hoped to research, create and print more routes in other locations.
It is planned to hold the first event on Sunday April 10 at Glencoe Lochan, starting at 11 a.m., when it is also hoped to gauge interest in restarting club operations on a monthly basis.
Until then Chris is happy to hear from anyone interested in learning more and also offers to demonstrate exactly what is involved. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]