Types of organised event

BOK events are divided into several categories: - Local, Regional and National. Beginners start with Local events first, or a Regional. 


These are mostly Bristol-based and suitable for beginners. From September to April they are in parkland/small wooded areas.  

There are senior and junior BOK leagues for these events.

From April to July there is a mid-weekly urban series also with a league – and prizes! You have to be a member of BOF (British Orienteering Federation) to be given league points


These are larger events in better forested areas, such as the Forest of Dean, but still have courses available for beginners.

Many Regional courses also have string courses and they are a popular feature. Provided for young children with very little knowledge or skill of orienteering; they follow a string trail, using a specially prepared map, visiting controls on the way. Although it is not intended to be of a competitive nature the youngsters are usually timed and enjoy emulating the older competitors. There is usually something sweet for finishers.

Both Local and Regional have colour-coded courses. These are from the easiest/shortest (White), through Yellow, Orange, Light Green, Green, Blue, to the hardest/longest - Brown (and/or Black).  Young children should start with White; adult beginners with Orange unless they have more advanced navigational skills.

The South West Orienteering League is a series of colour-coded regional events for members of SWOA (South West Orienteering Association) and are organised by clubs throughout the south west region. In these leagues, points are scored according to the time taken in relation to the winner's time on your course. About nine league events are held through the season with usually your best seven to count.


There are National and relay events, these are for more experienced orienteers. You compete in age class at these events. However there are usually beginners’ courses at most National events.

There are National events held each year throughout Britain with at least one in the south west.  Examples of national events include:

  • The J.K. (Jan Kjellström) International Festival - This annual event is organised in turn by the regions and therefore can take place in various parts of the country. Everyone can take part. This event is held over the Easter weekend each year.
  • British Championships - These take place annually in various regions of the UK. You must be a full BOF member to take part.  There are various disciplines that are held on different weekends throughout the year including Long Distance, Middle Distance, Sprint, and Night Championships.


Start times

Start times vary, so it is best to check the website and look at the Final Details (information provided by the Organiser for competitors). Sunday events registration usually opens at 9.30am, with start times typically from 10.30am to 12.30pm. It is always advisable to check before travelling. 


Many members share transport on a regular basis. If you are interested in sharing transport to an event you should contact the club membership secretary who arranges sharing, or a member in your area. Otherwise join the BOK Facebook chat page and ask there if anyone is able to help. 


During the summer months Informal events are organised for you to practice orienteering skills, with tuition if required. 

Weekly training runs are also held for the more active followed by an informal chat / supper in a pub. You do not have to do the run to attend. 


BOK runs numerous events throughout the year. We cannot put on events without volunteers; orienteering is entirely a volunteer-driven sport. In order that these events may be properly planned and organised it is necessary for club members to undertake these tasks.

We need main officials, but also helpers on the day. For this purpose volunteers are grouped into teams to carry out such duties as Car Parking, Start & Finish; Registration, Download, First Aid, Ask Me. In this way no one need help more than about twice a year. Helpers receive a 50% discount on entry, and a shift system means that everyone has an opportunity to run.


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Getting started at an organised event
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Getting to events - Event signage