What is a Permanent Orienteering Course?
A Permanent Orienteering Course is a set of plaques, often mounted on wooden posts or other features (typically around twenty), spread around a park or forest, together with a map showing where they all are. Your challenge is to discover these checkpoints in the order shown on the course map. You can do it at whatever speed you enjoy most – as a walk to enjoy exploring outdoors, or a race with friends or family to see who can complete it the fastest. The Permanent Orienteering Courses are in locations suitable for families, youth groups, school orienteering clubs etc, and each location has several different courses with varying length and challenge.
Each post or plaque is called a control, which has a code (usually letters) and a symbol on it. The control code is shown next to the circle on the map which matches the control on the ground; writing down (or recording) the matching symbol is proof you’ve been there.
Interløpers Orienteering Club has set up six permanent orienteering courses in Edinburgh and West Lothian. For more information on each of these and how to obtain maps click below on the appropriate link. NB courses are currently being updated and new map files will be available soon (as well as being made available for GPS orienteering via the Maprun app); in the meantime, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for current maps.
British Orienteering has set up a portal for Permanent Orienteering Courses around the UK, from which you can obtain maps and further information on how to use them here:
Some Permanent Orienteering Courses have also been set up as virtual GPS courses, which used together with a downloadable app on a smartphone or GPS watch, can produce timings and course results which you can upload later (for more information, particularly on the MapRun App and available courses, visit https://www.scottish-orienteering.org/get-involved/pocs/.
Once you've got the hang of it, why not try some of the following ideas too?
- Visit all the controls on the map in a random order as fast as possible;
- Challenge a friend, start several minutes apart, and record your times on a course to see who is faster;
- Challenge a friend to a head-to-head start with one person going round the course in reverse (see who finishes first);
- Use a favourite course as a benchmark run, perhaps monthly, to see how your fitness is improving (times coming down);
- Look up the Interløpers Events and SOA Fixtures List to find Local Events, and then go along and try it;
- If you enjoy the permanent orienteering courses, get in touch with the Club Secretary and join Interløpers.