21 – 23 May 2010, I did the Ardennen Oriëntatie Tocht (AOT) (‘Ardennes orienteering race’) with my friends Rob Hofman, Jeroen Keultjes and Frank Nummerdor. (This was my first AOT and 2nd orienteering race). It was held in the woods near Odeigne in the Belgian Ardennes. The event is organized every year by the Dutch group Scouting OPV-Schoonoord from Oosterbeek, and the races are always somewhere in Belgium.
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. At an AOT, both nights you camp out.
This AOT our team walked 47 km and ended up 25th of 37 teams in the ranking. Jeroen had to give up halfway because of a swollen knee and blisters but we still had good fun.
Here are some other orienteering weekends that I participated in over the years.