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RAF Orienteering
RAFO is the Royal Air Force's orienteering club. We count the serving, our veterans, families, air cadets and civil servants in our family
RAFO is the Royal Air Force's orienteering club. We count the serving, our veterans, families, air cadets and civil servants in our family

RAF Orienteering's posts

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Why not come for a run on Sunday morning in #Lincolnshire at Primrose Woods where our very own Dave J is the planner

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Improvise, adapt & overcome! #RAFOrienteer Madmike had a great approach to providing a start clock recently: purest military innovation

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RAF Orienteering athletes representing service and nation in Poland in September 2015 - one year ago already!

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Wow. Exactly one year ago the RAF Orienteering Association gathered at Halton, ready to board the flight (RyanAir as it happens!) to Skwierzyna in Poland for the NATO Air Command Orienteering Championships. Here's a minute-long video to bring back happy memories!

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Royal Air Force Orienteering represents three of the Home Nations at the Veteran Home Internationals

Perhaps uniquely in orienteering history a single club – RAF Orienteering – had members simultaneously representing three of the four home nations of England, Wales and Ireland at an international competition.

During the first weekend in September the home nations compete in the annual Orienteering Veteran Home Internationals (VHI for short). This year the competition was held in Northern Ireland on hard mountain terrain in the Mountains of Mourne and in the surprisingly complex forest next to Hillsborough Fort.

Flt Lt (retd) Geoff Ellis, now an MOD Civil Servant represented England, Sgt Wayne Byrne was selected for Wales and Sqn Ldr Philip Johnston-Davis ran for Ireland. (As in Rugby Union, Ireland fields an all-island team). With Philip’s selection for Ireland, RAFO has now technically represented all four home nations as a current serving officer has previously been selected for the Scotland junior squad, albeit before he was serving in the RAF.

The VHI classic race competition took place on Saturday on a windy and rainy summer’s afternoon on the upper slopes of the Mountains of Mourne just outside Rostrevor, in some of the finest steep race terrain Northern Ireland has to offer. With course lengths over 10km and around a 250 metre climb in low visibility the area was certainly appropriate to test the finest athletes from the four home nations’ veteran teams. From a Royal Air Force perspective Geoff had by far the best run, coming home as the third-placed athlete in the Male 40-45 category.

On Sunday the activity moved to the more serene setting of Hillsborough Forest for the relay race. However the apparently gentle woodland nature hid many small and intricate contour features requiring constant, precise and rapid navigation to stay on course and on pace. Each nation fielded 8 relay teams that each ran three legs. To prevent any following, the individual control sites to be visited on each leg was varied between individual runners, although the temptation to ‘take a tow’ off another runner still remained.

In the final telling there were no surprises to see England crowned as the Veteran Home Nations Champions once again, by a significant points margin over second placed Scotland. Ireland mounted a surprising challenge coming within threatening range of the second-placed team, but perhaps more tellingly managed to beat Wales, allowing the hosts to be awarded the ‘Stone Wall’ Wales vs Ireland trophy for the first time in the competition.

RAFO talent scouts are now examining birth certificates and residence of our leading orienteers to confirm any eligibility to represent Scotland which will host the 2017 VHI around Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands.

RAFO is the club for orienteers in the whole RAF family, whether serving, dependent or contractor. Once RAFO, always RAFO. To find out more visit or search for @RAFOrienteering on facebook or twitter.Wales -
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Bohemian Mapsody : RAF Orienteers bag national age class title at major five-day competition.

Royal Air Force Orienteer Flt Lt (retd) Geoff Ellis took to the podium on Sunday in southern Bohemia in the Czech Republic at the end of the final race of the ‘Czech Canada’ multi-day orienteering competition, so-called because it was held in the South Bohemian region said to closely resemble the forests, hills and lakes of Canada.

Geoff led the field on the Men’s A 40+ category from the outset and entered the fifth race-day chasing start with a significant ten-minute lead over his nearest rival. A strong finish with a total time of 200 minutes 51 seconds in physically demanding terrain resulted in a clearly deserved first place on the podium and the first major multi-day event title win outside the UK by RAFO.

In total, 20 RAF service personnel from SAC to Gp Capt competed in a strong field comprising almost 2000 athletes from 21 countries as far away as Japan with the RAF party making up 80% of the British contingent. The week-long event was used by the RAF Orienteering Association as their 2016 Overseas Training Camp in order to develop new talent, nurture the skills of existing experienced athletes and grow participation in the sport in the service. Invaluable support from the RAF Sports Lottery and corporate sponsors, ISS UK, made this largest-ever successful tour possible.

Orienteering holds recognised sport status in the Royal Air Force thereby attracting duty status for approved fixtures at national and regional level. Current RAF orienteers compete at the highest levels in the sport and currently represent England, Wales and Scotland.

RAFO is the club for orienteers in the whole RAF family, whether serving, dependent or contractor. Once RAFO, always RAFO. To find out more visit

Photo: Crown Copyright Philip Johnston-Davis. 

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This year's training camp in Czech Republic will be humming along all week!

The RAF Orienteering Association AGM takes place today. Looking forward to a good discussion of the issues surrounding our sport in the RAF.

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Follow us on twitter! @RAFOrienteering
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