A report last week by the London-based Royal Institute of Navigation expressed concerns that a generation of young people do little more than press a search button on a device to find their way.
The Institute, founded 68 years ago, expressed concerns that traditional ordinance survey map reading was being lost to a generation – insisting that the trained human brain is “infinitely better in a crisis at working out a sensible route and taking in all relevant data”.
An ability to work with physical maps and quickly calculate a path through challenging terrain is at the very heart of Orienteering – and school children in many parts of the country are turning away from the computers and learning once again the skills taken for granted by previous generations.
Mike Rodgers is Scottish Orienteering’s regional development officer in Moray, working closely with local schools and clubs in promoting the participative benefits of the sport.
Wherever the World Orienteering Championships have been held it has inspired thousands of young people to learn traditional map reading skills and have a lot of fun in the process.
We have certainly found this to be the case in Moray where schools have grasped the sport firmly and are routinely learning the very skills promoted by the Royal Institute of Navigation.
We are seeing hundreds of young people being fired up by the challenges presented in Orienteering and many of them will be taking part in the Scottish 6 Days which runs alongside the World Championships this year.
Who knows – many of these young people could well be competing themselves with the elite athletes from around the world in what is one of our fastest growing sports.
In the very least I fully expect that one of the legacies from the World Orienteering Championships being held in Scotland will be much greater participation in the sport in schools around the country.
Read more about the World Orienteering Championships, which will be based in Inverness 31st July - 7th August 2015