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Orienteering is an outdoor activity where you walk or run a course via a series of checkpoints (controls), using a specially designed and detailed map for guidance. Competitive events involve finishing the course as quickly as you can, but it doesn’t have to be a race: there’s a lot of fun in just going at your own pace.

Find a forest for orienteering

Two women follow a young girl and boy towards an orienteering marker post © Colin Matheson, Scottish Orienteering Association

Orienteering originated in Sweden over a century ago and in 1962 the first Scottish Championships were held at Dunkeld. Courses are often planned around beautiful or wild countryside. Scotland’s forests are ideal, with their attractive scenery, well-made paths, and unlimited fiendish hiding places for the control points.

Permanent orienteering courses have been established at a few of our destinations, and these can offer a good introduction to the sport and provide suitable training opportunities for visiting groups:

For a list of all courses in Scotland and information on where to download maps, visit the British Orienteering website.

Scottish Orienteering has lots more details about the sport, including a beginners’ guide, a list of local clubs and an events calendar. One-off events take place in forests throughout the year.

Orienteering symbol: a half-white, half-red square split diagonallyOrienteering is available wherever you see this symbol.