Austwick Virtual Orienteering Courses

Austwick Virtual Orienteering Courses


WA local walk or run with a difference?

Looking for something different to do, outside, which will amuse young and old? Why not try our Austwick virtual orienteering courses? It’s free, all you need is a smartphone, and a willingness to have a go. You can walk at your own pace, or try the running course. Visit and search for “virtual”.

This is a popular sport, which involves navigating around a course in the countryside using a map and compass, to find flags (known as controls). This can be done when walking or running, in competition with others, or just for fun. It is suitable for all ages – younger children will need help from an adult. There is no need to be super-fit. You can orienteer by walking at your own pace.


It’s an informal navigation event around the lanes, paths and fields of Austwick. Little previous navigation experience is needed, although you will need to read a map. You won’t need a compass!

This is a free ‘virtual orienteering course’ that can be done at any time, by any person with access to a smartphone. There are no physical flags or controls. Instead your phone beeps to indicate when you have “found” a GPS-defined virtual control, logs this information, and displays your results at the end of the course.


Austwick orienteering event map with controls and descriptions

You need to install an app called MapRun which is available on Google Play for Android and the Apple App Store. Once you have installed it, please fill in your personal details (name, age etc), which are needed to display your results. .

We suggest you download and print a map here (link), which is easier than relying solely on the map displayed on your phone. If the weather is wet, you might want to protect the map in a clear plastic bag or cover.

There are two courses to choose from:

  1. Austwick O (Runners) course – a fixed-time 60 minute period to visit as many virtual check points (‘controls’) as you can in that time.
  2. Austwick O (Walkers) course – a fixed-time 120 minute period to visit as many virtual check points (‘controls’) as you can in that time.

The printed map also shows the location of the start, finish, the controls and their points value (the more distant ones score more highly).

There is a significant penalty for going over the 60 or 120 minute time limit – 10 points for each minute (or part of minute) you are late to the finish. So, time your route carefully!

It is worth spending time studying the paper map, to familiarise yourself with the layout, controls and features shown. Here are a few tips:-

The scale is 1:12500 so 1cm on the map is 125m on the ground. That’s twice the scale of a normal Ordnance Survey walking map, so it’s easy to overshoot.

Brown thick lines – roads

Brown background – open ground / fields

Brown thin solid line – contours (10m intervals)

Black solid line with dots – wall

Black dotted line – path

White background – wooded area

Green background – built-up area / buildings / gardens.

Blue line – stream

Purple triangle – start / finish

Purple circle – control location, with control number

The table at the top left of the map shows the numbered controls, their points “value”, and a brief description of where they can be found. For example, control 1 is worth 10 points, and is at the corner of a wall (black solid line with dots). This is next to a path (black dotted line) which passes the wall corner.


Go to the area where the start is located (clue: it’s the car park of the Austwick playing fields, at the east end of the village).

Open the MapRun app, and use the Event List tab to navigate through folders UK / Yorkshire Dales, and you’ll see events called “Austwick O (Runners)” or “Austwick O (Walkers)”. Choose which you want to complete, bearing in mind the 60 or 120 minute time limits. Ignore the “Austwick Night Score” option.

Click on Goto Start – this will display the map on your phone – but you may find it easier to use the printed one. Now tap Start GPS and your phone will locate itself with the GPS satellites.

Your timed course will start when you get close to the triangle marked on the map. This is in the middle of the small parking area immediately in front of the playing fields building.

When you get within about 10 meters of this the phone will beep indicating your timer has started. This place is also the finish which you should aim to return to, as close as possible to 60 or 120 minutes later.

As you reach each control the phone will beep in a similar fashion. You need to be within about 10 meters of the control. If it doesn’t beep, walk around a bit and after a while if it still doesn’t beep start to question if you’re in quite the right place! The phone also displays the time you have remaining.

All controls are on public paths or rights of way, and these should be used to reach the controls.

Under no circumstances should you climb any walls or fences. Use stiles or gates to reach controls.

Once you return to the finish, the timer will stop, and you can see the results table immediately.

If you enjoyed this, there is another course in Settle, which begins in the Market Square. This can be found via Events List / UK / Yorkshire Dales / Settle Street.


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