Armchair Course Planning Competition

Whilst we await a return to the forest, I thought it would be fun to have an armchair course planning competition for club members to get those little grey cells warmed up again! This will also give those who attended Terry Smith's excellent introduction to Condes a chance to test out their newfound skills. If you missed the session, a recording is available. The details of the competition are as follows.

Competitors must plan a Green course to the British Orienteering guidelines on an OCAD map of Bramshaw Wood available by emailing webmaster [at] There are no constraints on where you place the start and finish, and you may use all parts of the map (highly unrealistic as any experienced planner will tell you!).

Entries will be judged on their adherence to the guidelines (e.g. distance, technical difficulty, safety, and correct use of control descriptions), presentation (e.g. accurate positioning of control circles and ensuring that important detail is not obscured), and providing interest to the competitor!

There will be two categories: one for those who have never planned above a Level D event, and one for more experienced planners. Entrants should declare what category they are in when submitting their entry. Ian Moran has kindly agreed to act as judge and will provide feedback on all entries.

Those looking for inspiration can view the courses from last year's November Classic on RouteGadget, Barry Elkington's article on planning a TD5 course, and Graham Nilsen's guide to course planning. Please, whatever you do, DO NOT visit the area

You can use the course planning software of your choice, but details of how to install a copy of Condes using the club's license can be found in the member's area. Entries should be supplied as a PDF of the map and course, including control descriptions, along with the course source file (Condes or otherwise) emailed to webmaster [at] by the AGM (23 July). Good luck!

There was a question during today's session on course planning on a Mac. Sadly both Condes and the free Purple Pen run only on Windows. If you have a Windows license, they do both run fine under virtualization options such as Fusion, Parallels, or the freely available VirtualBox. If you only have macOS then the best option is probably Open Orienteering Mapper. This is primarily designed as a free alternative to OCAD (which it does pretty well) but the course planning support is nowhere near as good as the Windows options.