25 – 27 May 2012, I did the Ardennen Oriëntatie Tocht (AOT) (‘Ardennes orienteering race’) with my friends Rob Hofman, Jeroen Keultjes and Maarten Hanke. This was my 2nd AOT and 4th orienteering race. It was held in the woods near Lutremange 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 Bushcraft walked 59 km and ended up 21st of 39 teams in the ranking. The whole weekend we had 25 ºC weather and, despite everybody’s blisters, a nice time.
Here are some other orienteering weekends that I participated in over the years.