Brian Parker (GBR)

This Clinic is about elite Trail Orienteering.

It is about controlling elite Trail Orienteering to a high and consistent standard on behalf of the International Orienteering Federation (IOF).

This is the first clinic for IOF Controllers in Trail Orienteering. Much of the material presented here is new and specially produced for this Clinic. It is intended that it should provide a base of reference for Trail Orienteering at elite level. As such it is the first word on the subject.

But it is not claimed to be the last word on the subject. It is hoped that the information and guidance presented here represent best practice at this time and will assist in the further development of this version of orienteering as it becomes better established.

Trail Orienteering has potential, especially at elite level. Most people observe the small number of events and the low participation in them and conclude that Trail Orienteering does not have significant potential.

It is argued that they are wrong to conclude so because the number of good orienteers who are familiar with a form of Trail Orienteering is actually quite high. I am referring to all the Planners and Controllers of major Foot Orienteering events. They have all experienced Trail Orienteering, but without being aware of it!

Trail Orienteering is sometimes called Precision Orienteering because it deals with precise map reading and careful analysis of flag placing. These are exactly the skills employed by all those top grade Planners and Controllers in their selection of control sites and the preparation of descriptions for those sites. Trail Orienteering is simply formal competition involving those skills.

At its highest level, elite Trail Orienteering can be extremely testing, but it has to be fair and enjoyable. There is an analogy here with the best cryptic crosswords. It is easy enough to set a crossword which is difficult to solve but setting a puzzle which is elegant and enjoyable as well as testing requires a special skill. So it is with elite Trail Orienteering and it is the Controller's task to guide and advise so as to achieve this aim.

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