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Boot & Compass Competition

See reports and photos: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

This is a bi-annual afternoon competition, open to all Cubs in the District. Packs can enter as many teams as they want, with between three and five Cubs per team. They do not have an adult with them, but we have manned bases throughout the courses so they are never more than about 100m from an adult. We run it at Bernwood Forest, an area of woodland near Oxford which is criss-crossed with (often very muddy!) paths.

The set-up is as follows:
  • A course is laid out with around 12-15 bases.
  • Each base has an orienteering flag with a letter on it, plus two bearings (a yellow bearing and a blue bearing). This allows the course to be run in both directions simultaneously.
  • An adult is allocated to man each of the bases (this proved necessary following Cub sabotage in previous years - it also means there is always an adult nearby if Cubs get lost or injured).
  • The Cubs are split into teams of between 3 and 5; each team must have a compass, a pencil and a whistle between them. They are not accompanied by an adult.
  • Each team is given a randomly selected number (pick from a bag) and the teams need to line up behind the start point in this order.
  • All odd numbered teams are given a blue record card and all even numbered teams are given a yellow record card.
  • Team 1 sets off first:
    • They are given a compass bearing and they must be able to tell the leader which direction they will be heading off in before they are allowed to leave.
    • Their exact departure time is recorded on the timings sheet.
    • As long as they follow the bearing they have been given straight along the path they will get to the first base.
    • At the first base they must write down the letter from the flag.
    • They will be given their next (blue) bearing. They must establish which direction they need to run in and point this out to the leader on the base. If they get it right they may set off immediately. If not they must wait one minute and then try again. They will continue to be held for penalty minutes until they correctly identify the direction that they need to go in.
    • They continue in this way until they have visited all bases and returned to the start/finish line. As they arrive back, the exact time of their arrival is recorded on the timings sheet and their total course time is calculated.
  • Team 2 sets off two minutes after team 1. They will be following the yellow course, so will leave in the opposite direction to Team 1.
  • Team 3 will set off two minutes after Team 2 and so on, until all teams have departed.
  • Teams are permitted (encouraged!) to overtake each other - it is a race against the clock.
  • The fastest team around the course wins - we have a trophy plus certificates and medals for the top three teams.

13:30    Leaders/base supervisors arrive for set-up
13:45    Arrival and registration
14:00    Allocate team numbers
14:15    Competition begins
16:00    Last teams arrive back
16:15    Presentations
16:30    Home time
  • Information Sheet (Word document - advance information about the competition)
  • Numbers (Word document - print on card for teams to pick out)
  • Timings (Word document - leaders record sheet to keep track of team times)
  • Record Card (Word document - team record card, print half on blue card and half on yellow card)
  • Certificates (Word document - first, second and third places)