Orienteerers put themselves on the map

Seventeen-month-old Lucy Waddington gets ready to take on the Yellow course with her mum Emma.

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Lucas Allen, age 7, negotiated his dad Matt around the Yellow course.

Seventeen hardy souls took to Tralee on Sunday for the seventh event in the Loch Eck Orienteers (EckO) series.

Battling ferocious winds and torrential downpours, the group challenged themselves across three categories, depending on ability, across the dunes and through the woods to complete the final course of 2019.

Due to the weather Sunday’s event was down on numbers but membership at the Oban/Lorn-based club have been steadily rising over recent years as the sport enjoys a boost in popularity.

There are now almost 70 members, of which around 50 per cent are juniors, with all ages and abilities enjoying this tactical sport which combines map reading and running/walking.

EckO chairman, coach and founder Ross Lilley told the Oban Times: ‘Orienteering is a fantastic sport for anyone who wants to challenge themselves mentally as well as physically.

‘There are no age limits, although we recommend, that children are accompanied by an adult until they are confident at reading the maps.

‘The idea of it is to find your way between checkpoints as quickly as possible. There is no set route between these points so participants have to decide which way to go, with the help of a map and a compass, and find their way to the next checkpoint without getting lost.’

The club have a very active junior section and cover all ages of adults, including some that compete at international level.

‘We also welcome newcomers to the sport,’ added Ross.

‘The best place to get started is a local event and we have mapped courses at Kerrera, Dunollie, Ganavan, Barcaldine, Inveraray and Ballachulish as well as here at Tralee.

‘We are lucky to have such stunning venues on our doorstep and are hoping to host some international events next year.’

Anyone interested in joining the Loch Eck Orienteers can find more information on their Facebook page or website https://www.ecko.org.uk/

Tralee results.

Green 2.8km: 1, Andy Dale M50, 20:02; 2, Max Holloway M21, 21:18; 3, Jim Bacon, 23:18; 4=, Diane Mailer W50, 29:55; Jan Kersel W60, 29.55; 6, Logan Mailer M18, 29:57; 7, Julie Watson W50, 35:51; 8, Leigh Murray W55, 37:07; 9, Ed Daynes, Caroline Coo, 39:01; 10, Alison Stewart W55, 40:06; Ross Lilley M50; Finlo Cottier M45; Dave Bleazard M55.

Orange 1.925km: 1, Ruari Cottier M12 17:17.

Yellow 1.325km: 1, Lucas Allen M10 23:19; 2, Lucy Waddington W10 27:58.

The club would like to thank Tralee Bay Holidays for allowing them the use of the area.

Main caption: Seventeen-month-old Lucy Waddington gets ready to take on the Yellow course with her mum Emma.