An orienteering puzzle for anyone in self-isolation (or just wanting some mental exercise)

If anyone is unfortunate enough to find themselves in self-isolation, or simply wants some mental exercise and/or distraction in the current situation, I thought I'd share this little orienteering logic puzzle: "O-Mishaps Galore!".

I wrote it for the old SOCK newsletter a few years ago, but that was about the time we stopped having SOCKs, so I don't think you'll have seen it. Apologies if you have.

It should only take a few minutes, especially if you're familiar with this type of puzzle. You should know if you've worked it out correctly, as things won't otherwise make sense, but I've also attached the answers in case you need them. Enjoy!

Attachment Size
O-Mishaps Galore!.docx 18.68 KB
O-Mishaps Answers.docx 12.57 KB


Seemed impossible at first but then it slowly dawned on me how it could be done!

Thanks, Helen


What can you do while there is no Orienteering for the foreseeable future?

With no organised Orienteering happening for some time how about trying some of the options below to keep your hand in and keep up some training.

Urban orienteering

SOC has many Urban areas mapped, like Southampton Sports Centre & Fleming Park. The Club could put out some training maps for people to download and run in their own time.

Let us know if this is of interest to anyone and we can set the ball rolling!

Create your own training maps

Or you can set up your own Training Maps centred on your own location.

This has the advantage of being local to you, no travel. Also, it is a good introduction to Planning Courses yourself which helps improve your own Orienteering Skills.

Some tips on getting started on this below.

You can download Ollie O'Brien's Open Orienteering Map. It is free!

  • Go to
  • You can type in your postcode (top right) or just keep magnifying the map and dragging it to the centre where you want it.
  • You have 3 choices of map format (top left).
  • You can manually add Start, Finish and control circles or try selecting the 'Add Post Boxes' which is a quick way of adding control sites.
  • Or you can just save the blank map as a pdf and create control sites using Purple Pen if you have it loaded. Purple Pen can use pdfs as base maps. (Purple Pen is also free to download).
  • Just save the map as a pdf and you can print off your own o training map.

This is not a comprehensive how-to list but most people with basic computer skills should be able to produce a map.

Maps could be shared and, with some self-timing, you could even post your results!

Armchair orienteering

Map Runner:

If you have not looked on the MapRunner website before, now is a good time.

Lots of information and you can download lists of Map Symbols and Control Description Symbols.

So you can recognise exactly where the control sites are placed.

Old maps

Looking at old maps and planning routes. Also planning your own courses. Where would you have taken the Green Course?

RouteGadget: or go to any club website results. They usually include their link to RouteGadget. Here's the one for SOC's previous events:

RouteGadget is great for analysing your own run and where you lost time against other competitors on your course.

Why not try using it to look up events or courses you did not run? Pull up a course and mentally plan how you would have tackled each leg. Then look at the routes that were taken by people on that course. This is great for seeing if your route was the one used or if you missed the better route.

MapRun back catalogue

If you're still in a position to be able to get out and exercise and looking to prevent your navigation skills from atrophying over the coming weeks and months then, if there's one local to you, why not run, or re-run, one of SOC's back catalogue of MapRun courses? We've added a list on the website at, with the PDF map for each course available to download. If you have the mobile app then it will notify you when you're in the right place for each control and will upload your route and time for comparison with others.

If you have any questions, or would be interested in create a new course (linear or score) in your own area, then drop me an webmaster [at] (email).

Also, remember that the club has a number of permanent courses available. In particular, I'd highlight that, if you live near Lakeside Country Park (Eastleigh), the map is available for download from British Orienteering for free so there's no requirement for human contact!



Thanks for this, David.

We are off round Romsey this morning but plan to work through the whole back catalogue!