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An orienteering sign at a road junction. A ‘sporty’ kind of car approaches (eg Subaru or other 4WD), slows at the sign, and turns down the road, disappearing into the distance.


I’m on my way to my first ever orienteering competition. Orienteering is a unique sport that involves both physical and mental challenges. Kind of like doing a crossword while you’re on a treadmill.

The car pulls up alongside an official handing out event information.


Welcome to Summer Series [or whatever the event is called]. Have you been orienteering before?


No, this is my first time.


Well, here’s some information about the competition today. After you’ve parked your car, go to the registration tent and someone will help you out there.



She drives on, passing several groups of elite and/or junior orienteers, wearing full orienteering kit.


Sounds pretty simple. But I can’t help noticing that all these people seem to be wearing some pretty serious racing gear. And all I’ve brought with me is a pair of sneakers.

She parks the car and climbs out, surveying the scene. A couple of orienteers jog past, carrying dibbers and compasses.

PRESENTER (V/O) (cont’d)

And what are those funny little things they’re carrying? Think I’d better ask someone.

CUT TO Presenter approaching an elite orienteer who is chatting to a couple of others.


Excuse me, you look like a pretty serious competitor. Could I ask you a few questions?



He moves away from the others.


So what with the get up?

He laughs. Ad-lib general chit-chat, pointing to different items of clothing etc. no sound:


I’m in luck. It turns out that this is [name], an elite orienteer who has competed in many national and international competitions.

CUT TO racing footage of Elite (or other Australian elites) competing internationally or in recent national events.

PRESENTER (V/O) (cont’d)

Top orienteers use specialized orienteering clothing and shoes designed for the rough terrain and thick forest that competitors often have to run through.

Back on Elite and Presenter.


But I don’t need to wear anything as fancy as this?

ELITE (ad-lib, along the lines of…)

Definitely not. Just light comfortable clothes, like you’d wear on an easy bush walk.


What about specialized equipment? Do I need any of that?

ELITE (ad-lib…)

Well, most orienteers use a compass.

(CLOSE UP of his compass)

This is a thumb compass, but when they first start out, most people use a base plate compass, which is more like a traditional bushwalking compass.


What if I don’t have any compass?


You can always hire them from the registration tent at the competition. Come on, I’ll take you over there.

As they walk over towards the registration tent –


Depending on the competition, I might also need an electronic timing chip that records whether I’ve been at the check point, or ‘control’.

Footage of elite competitors punching a control with a dibber (CLOSE UP if possible)


Some competitions use these chips to record competitors’ times at every control, but others use them just for the start and finish, to record competitors’ overall time. Today I’ll also need a special card that I mark with a punch, which imprints a unique pattern on the card at each control.

Footage of someone (possibly younger juniors or a family group) punching a control with a control card.

The Presenter comes out of the registration tent, carrying a control card, map, dibber and compass.

PRESENTER (to camera)

I’ve just paid my entry fee and now I’ve got everything I need - my compass (holds up), my control card (holds up), my timing chip (holds up) and I’ve even got a map (holds up). I’ve also got a control description, which will tell me what kind of feature I’m looking for on the map. The next thing I need to decide is how long - and how difficult - I want my orienteering course to be. But first, I need to get my racing shoes on.

She heads towards the car.