Your First Event

First time orienteers

First time orienteers

Last Updated: Sat 14 Oct 2023

Local Southdowns Orienteers events, known as SO Gallopens (SOGS) are friendly club events where children and newcomers are very welcome. A range of courses are available to suit all levels of fitness and ability and volunteers will be happy to help get you started. Newcomers are eligible for a free trial session - if you'd like to reserve a map or discuss the event please email our membership secretary.

Yellow and Orange courses are suitable for beginners and for children to run on their own with a bit of practice. Adults are welcome to 'shadow' children until they are confident to go on their own or you can orienteer as a group. Green and Blue courses are run or walked by any age group - you can race competitively or just enjoy the woodland.

  • Start times: 10.00am to 11.00am
  • Courses (approx): Yellow (1.5km), Orange (3.0km), Green (4.0km), Blue (6.0km).
  • Technical difficulty: Easy (yellow) to hard (Blue).
  • Courses close: 12.30pm
  • Fees: SO members: Seniors £5.00, Juniors free. Non members: Seniors £6.00, Juniors £2.50.
  • 'Dibber' hire: Electronic punching (SI) chips are available to hire. Senior: SIAC £2, non-SIAC £1. Junior: SIAC £1, Junior non-SIAC 50p (juniors are under 21 on 31st December)
A sport for all

A sport for all

What to bring:

Suitable clothes for walking/running around forests or towns (full leg cover usually required). Optional extras are a compass, safety pins to attach control descriptions and a whistle for getting help in an emergency. Check the Event Details for specific information.

What to do:

1. Pre-enter the event (usually at least a couple of days beforehand). See event details for entry. Decide on your course: SOGS have Yellow, Orange, Green and Blue courses available, Yellow being the shortest and easiest, Blue being the hardest and longest course. Yellow is intended for beginners and young juniors. Orange for a confident beginner and more experienced juniors. If you are at all unsure, contact the club secretary.

2. Getting there. Event details are posted on the website and contain information about travel and parking. Postcodes are not always listed, especially if the event is in a remote area, so detailed directions will be given. As you approach the event, orienteering kites or 'orienteering this way' signs are often placed on road junctions. Park as per the marshals instructions.

3. Collect your dibber or SI chip. Locate the computer tent and ask for your dibber.

Registration Tent

Registration Tent

4. Ask for Help. Usually we have specific club members identified who will be either near the computer tent or social hub tent who will be happy to answer any questions and also talk you through how to read the map and navigate your course. You can then head to the start.

5. Clear & check your dibber. At or on the way to the start, there will be a control box on a post labelled 'Clear'. You must place your dibber in this until there is a beep and a flash, so that it's ready to use (takes about 5 secs). There will also be a 'Check' control at some point before you start. This is to ensure that your dibber has been cleared.

6. At the start. The start official will tell you when you can go. Put your dibber into the start control, pick up your map and go! Navigate around your course in the sequence on your control description list. At each control (marked by an orange and white flag) place your dibber in the box until it beeps/flashes to register that you've been there. (If you have hired the SIAC dibber, these are touch free and can be waved over the control at a distance of about 50cm. You must check it has registered by listening for beep or looking for a flash.)

7. At the finish. Put your dibber into the finish control (even if it is SIAC) and head back to the computer tent to 'download' the information stored on your dibber. You'll get a printout of your 'splits' with details of the next few events printed along the bottom. You must report to download even if you don't complete your course.

8. Results. Live results are usually available on a screen in the computer tent and on the Results Page on the club website later that day.

9. And finally....

  • Orienteers love maps and will happily go over your course with you after you've run!
  • Come along to one of our monthly coaching sessions to pick up some top tips.
  • Check the Events page for future Southdowns orienteering events.

The Finish

The Finish

SOG Spring and Autumn Leagues.

There are two series of events - the autumn and spring leagues, of approximately 10 events each. Points are awarded depending on where you come in each race and certificates given out at the end of the season. Keep track of your league position here.