Pupils from Cronk-y-Berry Primary School put a new orienteering course to the test today.
DEFA is working with partners across the Island to encourage use of its land for healthy outdoor activity.
Orienteering involves navigating a course in as short a time as possible and can be completed by runners or walkers, meaning it’s a sport all ages can enjoy.
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.
‘Red and white control markers have been mounted on posts located at locations throughout the plantation,’
Mr Higgins explained.
‘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.
‘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.’
Sam Corlett, Robbie Hughes, Juan Crossman and Kei Amos, Year 11 students at Queen Elizabeth II High School, fixed caps on to the posts as part of an environmental course that counts towards their Asdan Silver Award.
Taking part in the project not only enabled the boys to practice their navigation skills but led them to experience a new environment and they especially enjoyed going off the beaten track in search of more challenging posts located in pits and behind knolls.’
‘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.’
Twenty-eight pupils from Cronk-y-Berry became the first to try the course today and pronounced it challenging and fun.
Brenda Cannell MHK, Member of DEFA with responsibility for Forestry, commented:
‘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. We hope that the way-marked orienteering course will not only prove useful for people wishing to improve their navigational skills, but will encourage them to explore one the Island’s oldest and largest commercial plantations.’
Mr Higgins said those trying out the course should wear clothing and footwear suitable for the terrain and respect other plantation users. Access to the plantation is restricted at times due to forestry work or sporting events such as mountain biking, rallies and motorbike trials.
The map and downloadable route cards will be available on the Isle of Man Government’s website early in the New Year.
To find out more about orienteering in the Isle of Man, contact William Higgins via firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 1624 827620 or Sandor Talas via email@example.com or +44 7624 226072 or visit the British Orienteering Association or Irish Orienteering Association webpages for information regarding events in their respective regions.