Outdoor City People: Pauline Tryner – organiser at South Yorkshire Orienteers
“With over 300 members, South Yorkshire Orienteers is probably one of the most successful clubs in the country.”
I started orienteering about 40 years ago. My dad dragged the family along to an orienteering event – he ran off enthusiastically with the map while the rest of us trailed behind him, complaining like mad. He got really into it and carried on taking us along until eventually I started to get a bit better, made some friends in the sport and started enjoying it too. It fell a bit by the wayside when I went to university, but I rediscovered orienteering again in my late-20s and became fully reinvested.
With over 300 members, South Yorkshire Orienteers is probably one of the most successful clubs in the country. We’ve won the UK Orienteering League and the Compass Sport Cup Final, which is orienteering’s equivalent of the FA Cup Final. We have a huge junior membership and at the top level it’s very competitive and physical, but unlike other sports, orienteering suits a wide range of ages: we get some families who bring toddlers along, while we also have people in their 90s coming out to do orienteering. You can choose the course that’s right for you.
I like that it’s a mental challenge as well as a physical one. You’ve got to try and get to the control point in the fastest possible time, but you’ve also got to work out how to do that and read maps effectively. I quite like running, but I spend a lot of my time thinking about how painful it is; whereas when I’m orienteering, I can focus more on navigation and not how much it hurts to get up a hill!
All of our events have courses suitable for newcomers and there are always people about to help. The best ones to start out are the newcomer’s league, which runs one Saturday a month in the main parks and green spaces across Sheffield: Norfolk Park, Endlcliffe Park, Millhouses Park, Graves Park, and Parkwood Springs. This city is perfect for orienteering and the higher-level events make use of more remote locations like the Peak District moors, woodlands like Wharncliffe and branching out to places around Rotherham and Barnsley. There’s also urban orienteering, going around areas like Kelham Island and the city centre, which is another interesting variation where you can discover new places around Sheffield.
There’s information about how to get involved on the website (southyorkshireorienteers.org.uk) and there will also be details on the events we’ve got going on in March, including night orienteering and our Saturday series to ease people in. We’re also hoping to have a stall at ShAFF in the Workspace, where people can find out more about orienteering and have a go for free.
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