What to do now?
What can I do? Since essentially all organised orienteering has stopped due to the Covid-19 epidemic, what are you supposed to do to deal with the void in your life that orienteering normally fills? Here are some suggestions …
How about the daily route choice challenge on WorldofO? It’s like the “Route to Christmas” but it’s on right now here. Every day there is a new route choice challenge and you can put in the way you think is the best, compare it with other armchair-orienteers and also with the way the runners went in the actual competition.
The Scottish Orienteering Association has a daily puzzle, maybe a spot-the-difference like the one below, or a control description puzzle, on their Facebook page here.
Geoguessr If you think you know your way around the planet, you can try Geoguessr, where you see an image of somewhere on Google Streetview and you have to use your skill and judgement to work out where it is. When you think you know, you click on a map with your guess and you score points depending on how close or far away you are. You can follow a road until you see something you recognise: what side of the road to they drive on? What language are the roadsigns in? What do the houses, cars, people look like? What is the vegetation like? What colour is the soil? Orienteers would be good at this! The program has been modified since we used it before so it’s more primitive unless you subscribe, but you can play against friends and family, or just do it yourself. If you go for the “Pro” version it costs $1.99 or $2.99 per month, depending on how long you subscribe for.
Visit a permanent O-course: there are lots of them around the country, mostly available on the Dublin Mountains Partnership, Coillte Outdoors or 3ROC web sites.
Sort out your old orienteering maps: do you put them in a big pile on the floor, or sort them into boxes, loose-leaf folders or binders? Do you sort them by name, by date, by country or by size? Do you scan them and keep a digital O-map archive (DOMA)?
Mapping Help your club by volunteering to map a new area or revise an existing map.
Play some orienteering games like Catching Features or, VirtualO, or some of the games listed on WorldofO here (not all the links work any more).
Practice with free mapping software like Open O-mapper or course planning software like PurplePen to plan imaginary courses. (Open O-mapper will work on a Mac or a PC).
Get out and go for a run with a map, any map. Alternatively, go for a run with a crossword puzzle or sudoku and stop and fill in the solution every time you solve a clue: this keeps your mind occupied (like orienteering) and the stop-start run also resembles orienteering (for most of us!)
Cancellations and postponements Sadly, you may have seen that the Leinster Championships has been postponed to September, the Irish Championships has been put back to May next year; the JK, the British Champs and the Welsh 6-Day are among the events to be cancelled recently. This is actually worse for orienteering than the foot and mouth disease outbreak which caused cancellations in 2001: then at least we could have urban events as the disease was confined to animals.
In the meantime, stay safe, keep your distance and maybe we’ll wave to one another in a forest somewhere!