23 – 25 January 2009, I did my first Pooltocht orienteering race with my friends Johan Hoogendijk and Frank Nummerdor. It was held in the woods about 40 km southeast of Dortmund, in Germany. The event is organized every year by scouts from Enschede (the Netherlands), and the races are always in wooded areas in Germany.
How does a race work?
At the start of the weekend, every team gets a map and coordinates of a number of posts, and the goal is to find as many posts as you can, as quickly as possible, only using a map and compass. The team that finds the mosts posts, in the shortest time, wins.
It’s a great way to improve your navigation skills (some areas of the map are even blacked out to make it a bit more difficult) and a good workout because you walk around 30 km per day in hilly terrain with a backpack carrying all your gear. In a Pooltocht, both nights you sleep in a sportshall so no wild camping.
This Pooltocht our team walked 60 km and ended up 22nd of 35 teams in the ranking.
Here are some other orienteering weekends that I participated in over the years.