Orienteering is a challenging outdoor adventure sport that exercises both the mind and the body. It’s a great sport for walkers, joggers and runners who want to improve their navigation skills and for anyone who loves the outdoors. The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. It does not matter how young, old or fit you are, as you can walk, jog or run the course and progress at your own pace. Orienteering can take place anywhere from remote forest and countryside to urban parks and school playgrounds.

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Yorkshire to host the Jan Kjellström International Orienteering Festival (JK) in 2016, celebrating 50 years of the event

What is the JK?

Jan Kjellström International Orienteering Festival or “The JK” is Britain’s premier annual multi-day competition and regularly attracts between 2,500 and 4,000 competitors from around the world each Easter. The competition comprises a Sprint race on Good Friday, a two-day individual competition on Easter Saturday/Sunday and a three-person Relay on Easter Monday.

The JK is named after Jan Kjellström (born 1940, died 1967) who was an orienteer from Sweden who played an important role in the development of the sport of orienteering in Great Britain. Kjellström, a son of Silva compass founder Alvar Kjellström, travelled to Great Britain to promote the sport. There, he helped to accelerate developments in orienteering competition, mapping and coaching.

It is a fantastic event that the whole family can get involved in. There are many ways to try orienteering:

  • A beginners colour coded course-a range of very easy courses following paths, to basic use of a compass, courses for beginners and family groups.
  • A string course-very young children with their parents, grandparents and guardians have their own map and follow a line of string which takes them around a set of controls marked by fun characters.
  • Xplorer Challenge-a fun family challenge aimed at primary and pre-school children and their parents, grandparents and guardians. Using a simple map of a park the aim is to find the points marked on the map and write down the name of the secret animal or colour shown on the marker. No experience of map reading is necessary and parents are encouraged to join in the fun! Find out more here
  • Trail Orienteering (Trail O) can be enjoyed by all, including those with disabilities. It does not require speed, strength or navigation but retains the crucial orienteering skill of relating the map to the ground in complex terrain. Sites are chosen so that they can be seen from a wheelchair-navigable path or area, but they may be quite a distance into the forest or non-navigable terrain. For more information go here:
  • Permanent Orienteering Courses (POC)-These are fixed orienteering courses available throughout Great Britain. They are usually designed for beginners but often include difficult options for improving or experienced orienteers. They are a great way to improve your navigation skills, experience orienteering without needing to attend an event or to simply make a walk more interesting. To find your nearest POC go here:

JK2016 will be taking place in Yorkshire over the Easter weekend Friday 25th March-Monday 28th March, more information coming soon on our dedicated website.

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