Orienteering courses have returned to Eglinton Country Park.

With improvement works starting in Spring – delayed due to the challenges of the pandemic – installation works have now been completed to refresh the three previous orienteering courses run at the local country park with a completely revamped offering.

Delivered along with Ayrshire Orienteering Club (AYROC) and North Ayrshire Council’s Ranger Service, there are three permanent courses in total – short, medium and long.

Scott McKendrick, AYROC’s Club Development Officer said: “We are excited to launch the new orienteering courses at Eglinton Country Park. The improved routes and permanent adaptations mean that the orienteering control markers featured throughout the course will be out on public display all the time.

“This will allow people taking part in the courses to benefit from the trails as well as other visitors such as school trips or local community groups looking to hone their map-reading and navigational skills.

“After a really challenging year for us all, it’s great to be helping the Park Rangers promote active outdoor activities and encourage people of all ages and abilities to take advantage of the fantastic orienteering courses that Eglinton Park has to offer.”

The new and improved routes will also help the council’s Park Rangers to utilise the orienteering routes in other ways such as developing scavenger hunts and quiz trails for children and young people visiting Eglinton Park.

Courses are free, and each can be enjoyed as part of a fast-paced time-trial, map-reading practice or treasure hunt, or even for the chance to just enjoy a wander round the Park with a little twist.

Countryside Ranger, Graeme Walla said: “We are delighted to have permanent orienteering courses back on the map at Eglinton Country Park.

“Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply getting together outdoors with family and friends, together with Ayrshire Orienteering Club, we are able once again to offer a rewarding orienteering course level suited to all abilities.

“The sport of orienteering is a fantastic way to build your confidence, stay active and help to improve both your compass-reading and map-reading skills – so you won’t have to always depend on the perks of your phone sat nav for back-up!”

To take part, you can download the maps for free from a QR code on the Start Post (beside the big stone map and notice board at the Main Entrance of Eglinton Park). Alternatively, you can download the maps by visiting: https://www.ayroc.co.uk/permanent-orienteering-courses

The link will take you to the Go Orienteering website which will take you through a short, shop-like format questionnaire (please note no payment details are required, and all maps and how-to guides are free.) For this option, an email address is required as maps and guidance are provided via email.

Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Participatory Democracy, commented: “Since the relaxation of restrictions, more than ever many of us are reaping the benefits of spending time outdoors.

“The re-launched orienteering courses at Eglinton Country Park offer the perfect opportunity for visitors to the park to try something new while appreciating the beauty of the green spaces on their doorstep.

“I would urge anyone looking to get involved to sign up for a course today and reap the benefits of enjoying Eglinton Country Park’s autumnal scenery while getting active and participating in a rewarding outdoor activity.”

Interested in finding out more? Head over to https://www.ayroc.co.uk/beginner for more information.