South Wales Orienteering Club's MapRun event at Whitchurch

No satnav allowed: Competitors learn to navigate Cardiff with only a map

An orienteering club is encouraging people to stop relying on their phones

SOUTH Wales Orienteering Club is teaching the people of Cardiff to navigate their area with just a map in a series of competitions.

Competitors are not allowed to use their phones to navigate and must use a map to hit several checkpoints in their area.

Andrew Firth, from South Wales Orienteering Club, said: “The idea is to get people outside in the winter and have some fun while exercising safely.”

Its winter series, MapRun, gives people 60 minutes to make their way around a part of Cardiff and visit several checkpoints designated on a map. Each checkpoint is worth between 10 and 30 points, with 25 checkpoints to reach. The aim is to get as many points as possible within an hour.

Competitors can only use their phones as a time chip to record when they hit different checkpoints, using the app MapRun6.

“We try and teach people to read a map instead of relying on their phones to navigate everywhere. You never know when you might need it,” said Andrew.

South Wales Orienteering Club’s MapRun event at Whitchurch

The winter series began in Rhiwbina in September and was followed by an event in Llandaff North in October. The most recent event on November 16 at Whitchurch was popular, particularly with runners, and saw 17 people take part.

The runs take place in the dark, so the club takes precautions to keep competitors safe. In the most recent event, the club removed the crossing at Whitchurch railway station from the map as it is particularly dark.

Participants must also dress in reflective clothing and carry torches.

“Most people decide to pair up when they arrive. It means they meet new people, feel safe running in the dark and get some exercise – all while learning new map skills,” said Andrew.

This year’s winter series will finish with a Christmas special at Cardiff Bay on December 14, followed by a Christmas dinner for all competitors.

Although the club is Cardiff based, the group are branching out to the wider area of Cwmbran and Caerphilly in the new year.

To take part in one of the club’s future events, contact: secretary @