The Saturday Orienteering Series has returned to Newcastle with newcomers and seasoned orienteers being called to join in on the navigational fun.

Orienteering is a sport in which athletes use a map and their wits to visit set checkpoints to complete their course.

Conducted by outdoor recreation company, Bold Horizons, in association with the Newcastle Orienteering Club, the Saturday Orienteering Series offers a handful of courses that appeal to all ages, held until June 25.

Orienteering is a sport in which athletes use a map and their wits to visit set checkpoints to complete their course.

Participants can plan their own route through the checkpoints, embracing the challenge and taking their time to navigate, while others can choose to race against the clock and record the best time.

Bold Horizons owner, Barbara Hill, said that while the sport was a fantastic exercise and very social, it was also a great way to spend some time outdoors.

“Orienteering is tremendously enjoyable and rewarding,” Hill said.

“Regular participation can develop and maintain critical thinking skills, self-confidence, resilience and independence.

“Personal growth and the development of life-long skills can happen without you even realising.” 

The series kicked off on May 14, with an event held nearly every Saturday until June 25, all hosted at different schools around Newcastle.

Newcastle Saturday Orienteering Series events are: 

  • May 21 – Callaghan College Wallsend 
  • May 28 – Hunter School of the Performing Arts (World Maze Race)
  • June 4 – Lambton High School 
  • June 18 – Merewether High School 
  • June 25 – Callaghan College Jesmond/Heaton Public School

“Each Saturday morning, participants can start any time between 9:30 and 11 am and expect to spend around 90 minutes at each event,” Hill said.

“No special equipment is needed; competitors just need to come along ready for a run or walk and help will be on hand to assist newcomers.

“These events are a great way for people to get active and explore their local area in a very enjoyable way.”

The May 28 event at the Hunter School of the Performing Arts will incorporate a maze as part of the World Maze Race initiative.

The World Maze Race is held worldwide where the exact same maze and course are set up simultaneously in cities around the world, including London, New York, Beijing, Paris and Sydney.

Kasimir Gregory, a member of the Newcastle Orienteering Club, won the senior men’s category in the World Maze Race, beating participants from 35 countries.

Last year, a local member of the Newcastle Orienteering Club, Kasimir Gregory, was the overall winner of the senior men category in the 2021 World O Maze Race.  

His time of one minute and 13 seconds was the quickest worldwide.

Almost 1000 athletes carried out the 142-metre long maze race all over the world, with 97 events in 35 countries registered.

Saturday Orienteering Series event registration is preferred via the Bold Horizons website, with entry from $10 to $15 per person.

Hayley McMahon