Orienteering Competition

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The Orienteering Competition is a Regional Scout competition involving navigating between points using map reading and compass skills. There are various difficulty levels and the competition welcomes Scouts, Guides and Adults. It is normally held in and around Cape Town often with the most welcome assistance of the Peninsula Orienteering Club.

The history of the Orienteering Competition

In the early 1970s Colin Inglis who was then the Divisional Commissioner for the Western Cape was very worried about the generally appalling standard of the Scouts' ability to use maps. As a long time member Mountain Club of South Africa, and later its President, he was acutely aware of the need to be able to navigate safely on a Scout hike.

On one of his overseas trips Colin had picked up a handbook on a sport called "orienteering". He then approached Kevin Wall and asked him to evaluate the book as to whether he thought this sport could be adapted to help improve the Scouts' map-reading ability. Kevin later intimated that he could see the potential and started formulating an orienteering programme.

Very soon afterwards, when the planning for the 1973/1974 National Senior Scout Adventure in the Cedarberg was taking place, Colin asked Kevin if he could put together a base which provided orienteering. He agreed, and got together a team setting themselves up at Heuningvlei in the Cedarberg. From the Scouts and Adults comments, the activity went very well.

Wanting to capitalise on the success of this event and the potential of orienteering, Kevin then suggested to Colin that an "Area Orienteering Activity" be put on the calendar for 1974. Consequently, the first one ever was run at Silvermine on Saturday, 10 August 1974, to try the idea out.

From the start these events were run with an emphasis on forcing the participants to practice their map-reading skills on commercially available maps. This practice was provided by setting the Scouts tasks which forced them to think, and to read the maps intelligently in order to make a series of short route-finding decisions. (In this respect Scout orienteering differed from the European-style sport orienteering, which emphasised the running and speed aspects, and also commonly used specially-drawn maps.) The objective was to get the Scouts to practice with "normal" maps.

Instructors were on hand at the starting area, so that if any of the teams needed help, they could ask. Instructors were also out in the field, and would stop teams and check if they were doing the right things.

The response in 1974, both in terms of participation and the training which was perceived it gave, was encouraging, and so orienteering became an annual event.

Girl Guides also participated and for example, in 1981, of the 66 teams in total participating in the afternoon training event, 16 were Girl Guide teams.

The orienteering was always held in daylight, invariably on a Saturday afternoon, as a training event and was referred to as the "Training Event". Later it was decided that there should be a competitive event to test those who thought they were smart enough – and to hold it after dark, just to make it was more difficult. Of course, being competitive, there were no instructors around to provide a helping hand and became known as the "Advanced Event".

In 1981 Kevin managed to persuade "The Argus" to donate a trophy for the Advanced Event. The handsome trophy, in imbuia and yellowwood, was carved by Mr D. Kruger-Haye, whose outstanding work includes the carving of the Parliamentary mace.

For many years Silvermine was the venue, but with the assistance of the Peninsula Orienteering Club many more venues are available.

Please note the over time the format and criteria for 'wining' the competition has evolved and this is reflected below.

Orienteering Competition Winners

Year Senior Winners Junior Winners Overall winners
2023 1st Muizenberg 2nd Rondebosch 1st Muizenberg
2022 2nd Fish Hoek 2nd Fish Hoek 2nd Fish Hoek
2021 2nd Fish Hoek 1st Bergvliet 1st Bergvliet
2020 No competition
2019 1st Bergvliet 6th Rondebosch
2017 6th Rondebosch 6th Rondebosch
2016 2nd Fish Hoek 2nd Fish Hoek
2015 2nd Rondebosch
2013 2nd Fish Hoek
2012 2nd Somerset West 2nd Kenridge
2011 1st Bothasig 2nd Fish Hoek
2010 1st Bothasig 1st Blouberg
2009 2nd Fish Hoek 2nd Fish Hoek
2008 2nd Fish Hoek 1st Bothasig
2007 2nd Fish Hoek 1st Bothasig
2006 2nd Fish Hoek 2nd Fish Hoek
2005 2nd Fish Hoek 1st Bothasig
2004 2nd Fish Hoek 1st Table View
2003 1st Durbanville 1st Rosebank
2002 1st Durbanville 3rd Pinelands
2001 1st Durbanville 1st Durbanville
2000 No competition
1999 1st Pinelands
1998 1st Pinelands
1997 1st Pinelands
1996 3rd Pinelands
1995 3rd Pinelands
1994 2nd Bergvliet
1993 2nd Somerset West
1992 2nd Kenridge
1991 4th Claremont
1990 2nd Bergvliet
1989 2nd Bergvliet
1988 2nd Somerset West
1987 3rd Claremont
1986 3rd Claremont
1985 2nd Somerset West
1984 1st Somerset West
1983 1st Somerset West
1982 No competition
1981 2nd Somerset West

See also