THE grounds of the Windermere School’s Elleray Campus were transformed into a challenging orienteering course, as over 200 pupils and staff from across the South Lakes took part in the inaugural Inter-Schools’ Junior Orienteering Event.

Pupils from Elleray, St. Oswalds, St. Marks, Staveley and Levens set about testing their map-reading and cross-country running skills, with two separate courses set up.

The Star Course was the beginners’ course, designed to give those who had little or no experience in orienteering the opportunity to get to grips with the basics of the sport.

For many, it was simply a stepping stone to the more intricate Map Course, where pupils ventured solo into the extended Elleray grounds, as they searched for 17 different stations.

Armed with maps and electronic finger devices, for recording their arrival time at each station, as well as their overall course time, the pupils were given approximately 45 minutes to find as many of the stations as possible, in the drizzly conditions.

The course proved to be a tough one as pupils ran up and down several steep hills, negotiating wooded areas, gates and muddy fields, with only a map as guidance.

On their return, each pupil was rewarded with a drink and a snack, as well as printed copy of their exploits which documented their arrival time at each checkpoint, as well as their overall time for the event.

For many, this was their first taste of orienteering, but the event was a huge success and one which Sarah Whitehead, head of physical education at Elleray, hopes to repeat.

“The children have had a fantastic time taking part in today’s orienteering challenge,” Whitehead said.

“It is a tough course, but they’ve navigated it well and many of them have found most of the 17 stations.

“A huge thank you must go to Mr Reedy for organising the course, as well as for providing instructions for the pupils and for helping them to evaluate their success rate.

“This was the first year we’ve hosted an Orienteering Challenge, but it’s been a great success and hopefully we can host it again in the years to come.”

These sentiments were echoed by Kirsten Hardy from St. Marks CE Primary School, who said; “We attended the event with 27 children from Year 6, who chose to do the longer route.

“They had a fantastic time and our staff were very impressed at how organised and well run the orienteering was.”