Orienteering is a challenging adventure sport in which orienteers must find their way across unknown terrain collecting check points with the aid of map and compass under time constraint. On 10th of November 2023, Gurkha Company Catterick organised Inter Platoon Orienteering Competition at back door training area in Infantry Training Centre Catterick. The main aim of the competition was to test recruits’ navigational skills, physical stamina and mental agility to perform in a demanding outdoor setting.
The staff were giving hints and tips to their platoon trainees as the score would add up to the Champion Platoon competition. There were altogether 30 checkpoints, and the time limit for an individual was an hour. Within that time, trainees must collect their two mandatory checkpoints and as many checkpoints as possible and reach the finish point. Failure to collect any mandatory checkpoints would be disqualified and the individual would end up with no point. Any additional minute after an hour would be 20 points penalty which made the competition even tougher.
The pressure was on. A lot of discussion and planning was going in waiting detail. I tried to keep myself calm and patiently waited for my turn. I was more focused on the mandatory check points. Each detail consists of six trainees from six different platoons. My time started as soon as I stepped in the red mine tape pane, we had 10mins to plot as many grids as possible. As soon as I was content with my mandatory checkpoints and few others, I set off from the start point. I had the route plan in my head. I went to collect the nearest mandatory checkpoint first and collected few others near it. Then I went to collect farther checkpoints. At one point I struggled to find one of the checkpoints. However, without wasting any time I moved on to the next one and completed the event with six checkpoints and reached the finish point in time.
All trainees performed well and gave their best to contribute towards their platoon score. The result was announced late afternoon. I was over the moon when 2 (Kandahar) platoon was announced as Orienteering winner.
By Trainee Rifleman Binod Tamang, 2 Platoon, 4 Section