Orienteering course is put to the test by 28 schoolchildren

Pupils from Cronk-y-School at the new Archallagan orienteering course

Pupils from Cronk-y-School at the new Archallagan orienteering course

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An orienteering course has been created at Archallagan plantation, with 28 children from Cronk-y-Berry Primary School in Douglas being the first to put it to the test.

The course has been created by William Higgins, a teacher at the school, and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA).

Mr Higgins came up with the idea for an orienteering facility at Archallagan after it was used for an international event two years ago.

He inherited the map from that event and has spent the autumn laying out the course, installing 48 DEFA-supplied posts and way-markers.

He said: ‘Red and white control markers have been mounted on posts at locations throughout the plantation.

‘Various courses start and finish at different car parks around the plantation and make use of forestry roads, tracks and paths over the different types of terrain.

‘All the pupils, and parents who also came along, enjoyed the event despite the blustery conditions.

‘They were all successful in navigating to various points along a course and enjoyed the opportunity to try the tasks in small groups without direct supervision of adults walking with them, but appreciated the checkpoints manned by staff which were positioned at different points along the course.

‘The challenge was the next stage in their orienteering development as pupils, having progressed from orienteering in school grounds, then Noble’s Park and now in a forest location.

‘Some courses follow major tracks and forestry roads, so provide a straightforward route to follow and a good way to try orienteering for the first time.

‘Others cross more difficult terrain and are more challenging.

‘All the children wanted to try another course in the forest and hoped to come back again to do some more orienteering later in the school year.’

Students from Queen Elizabeth II High School, Peel, also played a part in creating the new course.

Sam Corlett, Robbie Hughes, Juan Crossman and Kei Amos, year 11 students at the school, fixed caps on the posts located in pits and behind knolls.

Robbie said: ‘It is a healthy and environmentally-friendly course as people can walk, run or cycle while navigating from post to post. It is quite flat and not too steep.’

DEFA member Brenda Cannell MHK said: ‘The department is always keen for the public to take part in new healthy outdoor pursuits and this activity complements the cycling, walking and horse riding that already takes place at Archallagan.’

The map and downloadable route cards will be available on the government’s website early in the New Year.

To find out more about orienteering contact Mr Higgins on 827620 or w.higgins@cronkyberry.sch.im

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