Lockdown Orienteering

Just a quick reminder that the next event starts on Friday so get your entry in now if you want to take part. We’ll be visiting Argentina!

We have Street View orienteering around a city with traces of human habitation dating back more than 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements of Argentina. Plus trail orienteering around the impressive Iguazú Waterfalls!

More information and entry here.


Chris and the Lockdown Orienteering team

Lockdown Orienteering-online

Events all cancelled: nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
This is the first Easter since 2005, that we haven’t packed our CNOC tops, compasses and trail shoes to head overseas for ‘a festival of orienteering’. What to do on this ‘Not so Good Friday’?

My attention was drawn to “Lockdown Orienteering” and without much thought or due recognition of the fact that I’m not a ‘Gamer’, I signed up!

What follows is a description of my experiences.

Day 1 -Friday.

The organiser, Chris Smithard, had 3 ‘events’ lined up:

  1. Route Choice Game.   (

The aim of the stage is to choose the shortest route as fast as possible.

You are shown one leg and have to decide if left or right is shortest. We were presented with 20 map segments, such as the one shown above.

Really interesting. Would be useful to do coming up to a sprint event.

  1. Sprint Course Route Choice (

The aim of this stage is to choose the shortest legal route (not the fastest) as fast as possible.

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Sprint Map Day 1

You draw the route which you would take between controls. A ‘pace maker’ is moving either ahead of, or behind you, depending on your speed.  You’re very conscious of this ‘competitor’, which makes you speed up – just like in a real sprint race. If you’re slow, a penalty time appears at the top of the screen. This stage was planned by Jon Cross, who is the planner for 2022 World Champs! Again, very worthwhile and interesting,

  1. Catching Features Sprint Race

This is where the ‘gaming’ skills, (or lack of), come into play.

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This was an eye opener for me into the world of gaming. I discovered hitherto unknown dangerously addictive traits in my personality. I didn’t realise (this was learning on the hoof), that I had a compass at my disposal – my avatar ran amuck on this sprint map; game reflecting reality as I ran around in circles looking for control number 2. However, I would not abandon until the course was finished. Must bring energy gel next time! An ignominious end to Day 1!

Day 2. Saturday

Chris had 4 ‘events’ on offer today.

  1. Control Description Game (

The aim of this stage was to recognise control descriptions as fast as possible.

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Also presented as ‘Match the Pairs’, as fast as possible.

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A great way to teach & reinforce control descriptions – particularly the less usual ones.

  1. Photo Memory Orienteering


This stage was designed by Graham Gristwood, a world relay champion.

The aim of the stage is to remember a portion of a map and pick the photograph that shows the control, again as fast as possible. There were 12 map portions in all.

A portion of map is shown, you examine it and it is then taken away.

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Quite tricky!!

  1. This stage was a multiple choice orienteering quiz. It was designed by the very hard working Chris Smithard.
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  1. Catching FeaturesMiddle Distance
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Another attempt to unlock the secrets of Catching Features! It was mid-way through this game, that I discovered the compass, which you can clearly see in the bottom left hand corner. This revolutionised my gaming prowess, but unfortunately came too late to give me a credible time.

In a complete reversal of normal operating procedures in my household, my adult ‘children’ were popping their heads around the door and asking “ Are you still on that computer Mum?”  Empathy is a wonderful trait! I felt my weekend drifting away from me – beautiful weather outside, the birds in full voice. I decided to abandon and go for a 2km radius circular run – reality now reflecting game.

Day 3. Sunday

3 stages today.

  1. Spot the Difference. (

The aim of this stage is to find the differences between the two map segments. There were 12 questions each relating to a pair of maps – an original and an altered version.

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Some of the 12 map segments were very technical and took  a lot of time to interrogate. Demanded quite an amount of concentration. Would make a good exercise for a Junior training evening. Work in pairs and create an air of friendly competition.

  1. Streetview Orienteering (

Aim of Stage: You are given a sprint map with marked controls. You are then directed to Google Streetview. You must navigate down the street to the control and answer a question. The city used was Chester.

The planner was Graham Gristwood.

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  1.  Catching FeaturesLong Distance.

The map used was from JK 2016 – Kilnsey Moor. Having been warned that the Catching Features Pro took 119 minutes to complete this, and under increasing pressure from my youngest daughter to move away from the screens, I balked and abandoned.

Day 4. Easter Monday

2 stages were on offer today.

  1. Trail Orienteering (

The aim is to match a photo of a control on the ground to the one on the map. The photo is timed to disappear after a countdown.

  1.  Catching FeaturesShort Race.

The Grand Final

At 18:00 on Easter Monday, the Lockdown series concluded with a live streamed Catching Features race based on a 50 year old JK Relay map. The top 12 competitors faced off against each other to find the 2020 Lockdown Orienteering Champion.

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Great fun, some great learning sites and resources. Organisers Chris Smithard and his team are to be commended – huge effort. Would I do it again? Just signed up for the next ‘Lockdown Orienteering 24th to 26th April”. Compass is at the ready!

Bernie O’ Boyle

Curragh Naas Orienteering Club

Many thanks to Bernie for her take on lockdown orienteering and best of luck at the weekend! If you have anything O-related you would like to tell us about, please email

Take a look at some of the Irish younger competitors take on the Lockdown Orienteering via Instagram TV.

Orienteering in Ireland
Orienteering Ireland, Irish Sport HQ, Blanchardstown
D15 DY62, Ireland