Can’t wait for our next event before getting another orienteering fix? Here are details of some Permanent Orienteering Courses in the area.
1. Aden Country Park, Mintlaw
Maps are available from the shop at Aden Country Park for £1, or can be obtained from Aberdeenshire Council Landscape Services Tel: 01261 813386. Copies are also available by post at a cost of £1 each (cheques made payable to Grampian Orienteers) from Iain McLeod, 25 Earlspark Drive, Bieldside, Aberdeen, AB15 9AH.
2. Crathes Castle
Several course suggestions on offer including some quite challenging options if you fancy straying off the paths. Maps are available from the Ticket Office at Crathes Castle for £1 or can be obtained from the Crathes Ranger Tel: 01330 844810, or by post at the address above.
3. Duthie Park
The easiest of our POCs and all contained within Duthie Park so ideal for kids. Copies of the maps can be obtained from Aberdeen Council, Outdoor Education Department (Office Tel: 01224 346191).
23/3/12 During the renovation works currently going on at least half of the POC controls at Duthie will be inaccessible although you may be able to read the codes from a distance through the Herris fencing if you have really good eyesight!
The Forestry Commission have re-instated the POC posts at Kirkhill now and you can download a map from their website.
5. Bennachie Semi-Permanent Orienteering Courses
Unlike normal POCs where the controls remain fixed year in, year out, the POCs at Bennachie will be changed periodically to keep the interest going. There are a range of courses from easy for beginners/children to something slightly harder for more experienced orienteers, guaranteed to take you to parts of Bennachie you’ve never been before (boldly or otherwise).
Maps are available from the Bennachie Visitor Centre (open Summer 10:30 – 17:00 and Winter 9:30 – 16:00, closed Mondays). Phone 01467 681470 to check map packs are available especially if you require enough for a small group. Or you can download them from the Forestry Commission web page for things to do at Bennachie. ****September 2012 Felling work ongoing means many of the markers have been taken in for safe keeping and Visitor Centre will be closed for long periods over next few months. Check the Forestry Commission website for latest news****
6. Kincorth Local Nature Reserve
Accessed from the car parks at Abbotswells Crescent (eastern side of reserve) and Nigg Way (west side) and from various points along the edge of the housing estate.
You can find out more about Kincorth and other Local Nature Reserves by visiting Aberdeen Council’s Country Parks/Countryside Ranger Service web page.
Map: you can download a pdf of the map here
Controls: you’re looking for small bronze plaques here rather than the usual red and white orienteering markers, so keep your eyes peeled and see if you can identify the animal or tree that the cast came from.
Answers: Don’t cheat! Have a go at identifying the markers first then come back for the answers.
There’s an interesting story behind the unusual markers used on this POC. Ian Tallboys, Countryside Officer with Aberdeen City Council, explains their evolution:
“The markers were a part of a project with the local primary schools and Academy in Kincorth in 2007/08. We were encouraging the increased appropriate use of Kincorth Hill by the local community as a whole to help raise awareness of the value of the site for wildlife and recreation as a part of our work to try to reduce the levels of willful fire raising that was occurring on the site.
As a part of this we worked with the ACC Arts Development Team, a sculptor, the schools and the Sue Ryder Centre in Kincorth to design and make a 3-D bronze sculpture of the Hill. The students and residents at the Sue Ryder Centre made the moulds for the bronze casts and got a tremendous amount out of working together and new friendships were built up. This project delivered 2 of the 3-D models which are located on the hill, one at the main viewpoint and one on Nigg Way at the bottom of the hill behind the Kincorthland block of flats.
There was a small amount of funding left once these were completed so the students came up with the idea of making bronze casts of some of the animal footprints and tree leaf prints which became the orienteering markers on the site. Some of them have the name of the animal or tree next to them, but some don’t so users have to work out what some of them are themselves!
When we had the official launch of the maps and orienteering markers the Fire Brigade attended with their all terrain vehicle and took some of the Sue Ryder Centre residents up to the top of the hill to see the view. Many of these were wheel chair users who could not otherwise get to the top of the hill so this made a huge impression on them.
This project along with the other ongoing initiatives we have been working on have substantially reduced the numbers of willful fires from over 130 in 2010 down to 16 last year (2011).”
Our neighbouring club, MAROC, also have one or two POCs. Check http://www.marocscotland.org.uk/ for details.