Back on the map
When the first edition of this book was published in 1987 it instantly became the standard work on the subject. It set new standards of visual presentation, particularly with its five-colour map illustrations. It also brought together a large selection of teaching ideas and training methods previously confined to dull coaching texts or badly typed and photocopied booklets circulated at coaching courses.
Since the first edition, the sport has grown in popularity. This is largely due to more children getting a well-structured introduction in schools. In outdoor education centres the activity has also moved on from being a "time-filler". There is now recognition that well-structured orienteering sessions bring success and enjoyment, delivering core outdoor skills along with the self-confidence to use them.
This updated edition of Teaching Orienteering has been expanded considerably. There is a new section on orienteering for people with disabilities, and the "Outdoor Alternatives" section now includes mountain bike and ski orienteering. The text has updated terminology, and the visual presentation has improved, with even better map and picture reproduction.
I was slightly disappointed by the new text layout. It is more cluttered,and sadly there are no map examples for mountain bike or ski orienteering, even though there is space for them. Irritatingly, the "orientation of a plan" (page 75) is only partially right. Part 1 is correct, but part 2 needs to be turned anti-clockwise.
These are, however, minor gripes. The splendid treasure chest of activities remains largely unchanged, with a few good additions. There is little keen orienteers like better in their spare time than to pick up a complex map. They engross themselves in its detailed colours and symbols, visualising the three-dimensional landscape it portrays.
To those aficionados who teach orienteering this book will provide similar enjoyment. Its colours, symbols and text conjure up a marvellous array of coaching activities for any level of participant. On the day the book arrived, my wife, who is in charge of our club training, fell on it. A short time later she announced triumphantly that she had found the ideal activity for our next training night. This book continues to provide the best single source of ideas and progressions to help all who would teach orienteering.
* Raymond Finlay is head of Gortatole Outdoor Education Centre, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. He is also a regional coach for the British Orienteering Federation and a member of the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres