South East Lancashire Orienteering Club

  • Example map of Bolton area
  • Orange/white orienteering control flag
  • Thumb compass
  • Dibber
  • Example orienteering shoes
  • Top UK Orienteer in action
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What Equipment is Required

Newcomers to orienteering need very little equipment to make a start, just old clothes that you don't mind getting dirty, and a sense of adventure.  It doesn't matter how young, old or fit you are, you set your own pace. Orienteering is a sport which involves finding your way between control points and getting around the whole course in the quickest time.

It is almost always necessary to have full leg cover when orienteering in order to protect yourself from vegetation when venturing away from paths. Note that the wearing of shorts is prohibited at most events. For further protection of the lower legs some orienteers wear robust gaiters. In addition, most orienteers wear specialist orienteering or fell shoes, providing more grip than normal trainers on slippery slopes.

When you go to an orienteering race you will always be given the map for the event. However, it will soon be very helpful for you to have your own compass. There are two main manufactures of compasses, called Silva and Moscow. 

Most orienteering events these days make use of electronic timing.  A 'dibber' is a small electronic device that is used to register your time at each control along the course and at the finish. Worn on the index finger, it is a short plastic rod with a clock inside that needs to be inserted into a slot at the control – a positive ‘punch’ is recorded by an LED flash and a beep. The advantage of e-punching is that when you get back to the finish your overall time and your time between each individual control can be given to you on a computer print out. By the time you get home, all the results may have been downloaded via a mobile phone to a web site and you can go onto the web site and compare your time to everyone else’s.

There are two systems widely used in the UK, which are SportIdent and EMIT. However, all north west clubs have adopted the SportIdent system so unless you orienteer further south you are unlikely to come across EMIT cards in the near future. It will always be possible to either hire or borrow the required dibber for any particular race if you don't have your own.


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