Women In Sport Week
We round off our week of celebrating the Wealth of Women in STAG with Rosalind Heron. The Magnificent Seven indeed. Thank-you for being who you are and being part of our journey.
I started orienteering as a teenager when the local club in Ireland (Fermanagh Orienteers) arranged after-school training at the nearby leisure centre and then assisted with transport to weekend events. I was hooked by the challenge, the welcoming community, and the opportunities for travelling around the world to participate.
Having been fortunate enough to represent my country in a number of competitions, those days are now behind me, and my future plan is to take advantage of the family-friendliness of the sport. My daughter already enjoys going around the string courses.
I have done Mountain Marathons for a long time with my partner Colin. I came into mountain marathons through fell running. We decided to have a go at the dark mountains which was an all night mountain marathon last weekend in January.
In order to try and improve night navigation I looked up on the Internet and found out about STAG. I went along to Springburn Park and was met with a great welcome...after this both Colin and I have been finding a new sport to enjoy. I must admit to finding orienteering very frustrating at times although it is also a very absorbing pastime. We have both enjoyed meeting a lot of people. I have great admiration for orienteering as a sport...and for those who make it all possible. Thanks for a great club. Jo
How I got into O?
I am a new comer to the sport. I became involved with it about four years ago through my partner. Orienteering in his family is very much a way of life and a source of great joy. Considering the fact that I was already an avid hiker, a lazy runner and loved a good map it was not a tough sell.
One of my first orienteering attempts was Scottish Six Days 2017. I believe I still hold the record for the longest time on W35S Course …. ever. Four and hours after starting I arrived at the finish, neatly preempting a search party which was about to form, and knew that I was hooked but in need lots more practice.
In Autumn of that year we joined STAG, where I discovered wonderful friends, as well as much needed mentors. I entered as many events as I could and found that while my orienteering abilities were improving very incrementally my love for the sport kept growing.
Biggest highlights for me so has been volunteering with the rest of STAG to help at Edinchip, day 2 at Scottish 6 Days in 2019 and participating in Oringen in 2019.
I was greatly looking forward to competing in Jukola/Venla this year and hope to be able to do so next year. I would also like to finally complete a Scottish Night Championship.
Alison Campbell - 1995 & 2020
How I got into O? I was probably just walking when dad took me around a string-o first. But I didn’t start really orienteering until I was about 10. Was only doing national events in the USA at the time. I just loved going each week to the forest, seeing my friends and spending time with my dad. I remember coming to Scotland in the summer and going to a week night local event and being like “wow there are so many people here! Weird you have to draw your own course though”!
Scottish 6-days 2007 in Speyside though really got me motivated to see where I could take this sport. I made some friends at the event, I felt like I wasn’t a weirdo to like the outdoors and running in the woods and camping, and my dads friends were really supportive and encouraging as well.
What are your future targets/plans
So here I am at 28 and my goal next year (virus permitting) is to go again to the World Championships and see what I can achieve. I just love the challenge of being handed a map and the task of getting round the course as fast as I can! Plus who can complain about getting the opportunity to travel and see all the outdoor spaces this amazing planet has to offer.
My first encounter with orienteering was at School Camp – ooh maps! At secondary school I went
orienteering as part of Outdoor Education and the sheer joy in traipsing round Saltoun Forest in the
snow, with a map!
My O “career” continued with ESOC’s summer evening series – the thrill of completing a white
course on Arthur’s Seat, and the organisers encouraging me onto a yellow FOR FREE stays with me.
That love of a freebie probably explains why I gravitated to Aberdeen University to study geography
(maps, maps and more maps), home of the legendary AUOC and a city with a reputation for being
With AUOC I travelled all over - including a JK at Longleat, the fear that one 180 degree error and
you could end you up in a lion’s jaw, gave an extra frisson. AUOC also took part in the legendary
Torcher parade – raising money for charity and giving me the chance to dress as a smurf .
Many forests later I am still totally in love with orienteering – despite being lost 50% of the time and
a total plodder (I only learnt how to jog in my 30s) – proving that orienteering is not just a runner’s
sport. In fact what I love about the orienteering finish line is no one can ever tell if you are first or
Joining STAG was a pivotal moment for me – I had seen many female orienteers at Post Box
orienteering events, (and I fell in love, and became a little obsessed, with post boxes - as well as
maps). I somehow won the biggest trophy I had ever seen, for winning a Dark Park series – which
gave me bragging rights for a whole year.
In the near future I am trying to complete the STAG series of Map Run events, which are great for
orienteering at your own time and pace, but not so good if the stories of rabid dogs at Cathkin Braes
scares you witless, and you would prefer some other orienteers around to provide help and/or a leg
for the dogs to chew upon.
In the far future I have always been inspired by the W70+ age class so I hope to get there and
maybe even win another trophy as oldest female competitor, even if I have to get wheeled round in
a bath chair with someone else holding the map.
I’m fairly new to orienteering, only started in 2019. I was preparing for my mountain leader assessment and hoped to use orienteering to sharpen my navigation skills.
The STAG club Wednesday nights are great for a beginner like me, great coaching and really supportive atmosphere. I really missed the club sessions during the COVID lockdown. But the club has been great in putting up MapRunF courses all over Glasgow.
The courses have different levels to suit every ability. In the future, I would love to be involved in coaching development and be able to further my skills and hopes help more young people to get into orienteering too.
How did you get into orienteering?
My dad orienteers and I have been ‘dragged around’ o-events since I was a baby. One of my early memories is me and mum going to find two or three controls whilst waiting for my dad to finish his run. I also liked orienteering at school. We started at 1st grade where we were given a photo that was taken somewhere within the school grounds. We had to find that spot and take the matching photo back to the teacher to receive a second photo control. I still remember how exciting the mini orienteering/treasure hunt was. I started ‘proper’ orienteering when I was around 11 years with my dad teaching me the map symbols, how to use compass and then trailing me on courses. It was exciting to go to different forests and find your way around by map with the re-assurance that my dad was there if I got slightly worried that I was lost. We carried this on and off for few years progressing to harder courses and some running. The year I got my driving licence, I started to go to the local events by myself and I first did the easier courses with more paths and other features to follow to get more confident. When I moved to Scotland to study, I joined the University orienteering club as this was nice way to get to trips away at weekend away from the city.
Why do you continue to participate/compete ?
There are lot of things I enjoy about orienteering. I get to visit new places I wouldn’t otherwise go to. There is also always some room for improvement, I certainly have never had a perfect run. After the event there is always the analysis with map that I enjoy – could I have picked slightly better route, ran faster/slower so that I wouldn't had got lost etc. You also get a great feeling of satisfaction if there is a tricky control and you manage to hit it spot on – and perhaps sneaked away from it before other competitors spotted you visiting it and are still wandering around looking for it. Or better yet, if I have ran the same course as my husband and beaten his time for a checkpoint or two! I find orienteering is also great for relaxing as you need to concentrate on reading the map so you can’t think about work/chores etc you might need to do.
What are your future targets/plans
I am very much looking forward to running in the STAG team at the Jukola/Venla relays next summer in Rovaniemi, Finland where I grew up. Hopefully I won’t get too carried away and subsequently lost. I am also looking forward to going to local events in Scotland once they can start up again and starting to teach my daughter about maps – hopefully she will be slightly more aware than her first event when she slept the entire time being carried around in a sling.