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Focus On ... Orienteering

How Dundee became an Orienteering super-city

Scottish Orienteering and Dundee Active Schools have teamed up to turn Dundee into a super-city for orienteering, with more than 20 routes across public areas now available to all users.

The routes for all these trails can be accessed through an app called MapRun6, which can be downloaded on to any smartphone. From there, your phone can keep track of your progress once in range of a recognised start point. However, paper copies of all routes can also be accessed through Dundee Active Schools website and can be printed via downloaded PDF files.

It is hoped that this range of routes can encourage more people, of all ages and experience, to get involved with the sport. In addition to the routes available, there are plans to run the Scottish Sprint Orienteering Championships in Dundee in March 2022. This builds on the summer camps run in July that allowed kids to experience orienteering for the first time.

How it works

Using the detailed maps provided by the app or downloaded PDF files, the task is to navigate yourself between 'control points' or 'postbox challenge' trails. There is no set route given for navigating between the control points, so you must decide yourself which way to go and find your way there.

These 'control points' can be any number of distinctive locations, such as tennis courts or monuments. Dundee’s parks are a particular focal point for the trails; however, as the name suggests, there is also a separate challenge which allows you to navigate between certain postboxes within the urban areas of the city as well.

The app uses a GPS signal to track your progress as you walk around your chosen route. When you’re within 15 metres of the control point your phone will beep to let you know. Sarah Dunn, Development Manager for Scottish Orienteering said;

"With no clubs based in the city there has previously been a barrier to the sport, but new developments with smartphones have made it much easier for us to take the sport to people's doorsteps and we hope that this will encourage and inspire people of all ages to give the sport a try.”

How it came about

The partnership came about after Active Schools Dundee reached out to Scottish Orienteering seeking support for training up  the local co-ordinators . The pandemic meant taking a creative approach. After this, the partnership began to look at other ways they could work together.

James Fenna, Active Schools Manager for Dundee, added;

“The partnership with Scottish Orienteering started at the beginning of the first lockdown and has been a great success. We have managed to train most of the team in Orienteering, enabling us to provide Orienteering activities in the Hubs and Schools in the area.”

However, both parties are looking to continue to develop the relationship and provide more Orienteering programmes in Dundee. Fran Loots, West Regional Development Officer for Scottish Orienteering added;

“We look forward to a continued working relationship with the Dundee Active Schools team and seeing lots of people of all ages getting a buzz from taking part in orienteering challenges from their doorstep."

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