Over 200 at first OSL event

After getting rained out last week, we were relieved to be high-and-dry today for what was really the first event of this year’s Orienteering Schools League (OSL). Schools new to OSL include Brescia and Parktown Girls. It’s super to have them with us. 

The number of participants today was around 215 – our biggest field yet! Credit here most definitely goes to the teachers for getting their schools involved and ever more students recruited and most definitely the biggest credit goes to Karen Chambers who handles all of the liaison with the schools and teachers… and so much more too!


Lisa’s Orienteering Tip – Line-up with significant features (and slow down!)
It was quite interesting to be out in the field today. The one thing that really stood out was that too many participants are just not reading their maps. Remember, the map tells you a story and it tells you exactly where to find the control flag. It really does no good to run around checking every control you come across as well as following other [equally lost!] people around.

Finding a control isn’t just about where exactly the flag is placed – it’s about the features along the way that guide you. Here are two examples from today. The pink circles show the location of controls for all four courses.

Example 1
This section of map shows the start control (triangle) and the location of controls – most of these were 1st controls for one or other of the four courses. I’ve added in some comments to show what you could have used to line-up to confirm that you were at the correct control. Many, many participants ran around checking the number on every single one of these!

If the circle is drawn around/next to a thicket, look to see which side of the road it is on… Is it in-line with the start or not? Is it below the corner of the fence that goes around the field? If it is drawn where two roads meet (in this case a T-junction), then your control is not the one next to the fence that surrounds the property. Is your control closer to the river or to the start? These are BIG clues.


Example 2
This is an even better one for lining up…


The red line shows that route that I would take from where I was to where I want to go. My ‘story’ would be as follows:

“Go around the thicket towards the perimeter fence and head down to go under the bridge (the main road will be above me). The river will be on my right. Keep going straight for about 150-metres (check the scale on your maps!). On the way I’ll pass vegetation to my left, an embankment (brown line with ‘eyelashes’) on my right and then it looks like there is a wall across the river – that must be a weir. I must go past the weir. By the time I’m in-line with the fence-thing (turns out these are cricket nets) I should see a man-made feature (black x) on my right and that’s where the control is located”.

So, when you look at where I found more than one participant… (see where I’ve indicated this)

The questions I asked included:

  • Is the control you want next to the river or far away from it? (next to the river is the right answer)
  • How far is the control you want from the bridge or close? (far)
  • Do you have to go through any gates to get to your control? (no)
  • Are there any buildings close to your control? (no)
  • What feature is the circle for your control drawn around? (man-made feature – black x)
  • From the bridge to the control do you have to turn sharp left or right to get to your control or just go straight? What did you do after passing under the bridge? (straight; I turned)
  • Looking at your map do you think you’re at the correct control right now? (no)

My second orienteering tip is that if you’re hunting around for the first control and the second control it is a sign that you’re not seeing what you need to be seeing.

Slow down! Ignore the other people running around. And read your map – don’t just look here, there and everywhere hoping to spot a control flag.

If you’re new to orienteering or only have a little experience, take the time to figure out how this works. I guarantee that if you just walk and pay attention to what is around you then your time will be better than if you run around like a headless chicken. For sure! And next week will be better and the following week will be even better. Navigation definitely improves with time and experience.

We’ll post full results in the next day or two on the OSL page on the orienteering website. For now, here’s the top 3 in each category.

Junior girls
1) Kirsten Chambers (Fourways), 2) Emma van Nierop (Fourways), 3) Nyeleti Ngobeni (Krugersdorp)

Senior girls
1) Christie Courtnage (Trinity), 2) Cian Oldknow (Fourways), 3) Jureya Dildar (Fourways)

Junior boys
1) Jaya Curtis (St Davids), 2) James Hancock (St Davids),  3) Franco Hay (Helpmekaar)

Senior boys
1) Timothy Chambers (Fourways),  2) Peter Carides (St Davids), 3) Henlo van der Westhuizen (Helpmekaar)

Photos have been posted on the OSL Facebook page.

I look forward to see you at the NEXT OSL EVENT at Summit College on Monday, 17 February 2014.

Until then,