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Airienteers, Orienteering in Airedale and Wharfedale and Leeds and Bradford

About Us

Info for new and prospective members

Last edited: Mon 3 Apr 2023

Welcome to our website.
Airienteers have been organising orienteering events in Airedale and Wharfedale, Leeds and Bradford for over fifty years!
We are a friendly club. We welcome new members whatever their age, fitness or ability. All our events have courses for beginners.



Orienteering is an unusual sport. It takes place in different locations each week, courses are spread over a large area and competitors start and finish at different times. Becoming familiar with the sport and getting to know other club members can take a while.

This page is designed to introduce the club, Airienteers, to new members whilst the publication, 'Let's Go Orienteering', provides a basic technical guide for newcomers to the sport. Please use the contact list to introduce yourself to other Airienteers. Experience shows that some of the best ways to meet club members and discover more about orienteering are to help at events, come to social activities and take part in relay competition


Airienteers is the orienteering club of Airedale and Wharfedale. The area covers the districts of Leeds, Bradford and Craven including Morley, Garforth, Wetherby, Otley, Ilkley, Keighley, Skipton and Grassington. The club promotes orienteering both for leisure and as a competitive sport. Airienteers' diverse involvement spans mapping school grounds for use by novice youngsters to organising international events. Our areas mapped for orienteering range from inner city parks and suburban woods to wild gritstone moors and limestone fells.

Airienteers, or AIRE, is one of several clubs in the region that comprise the Yorkshire and Humberside Orienteering Association (YHOA). Twelve such regions make up the British Orienteering Federation (BOF), itself part of the International Orienteering Federation (IOF). Our neighbouring YHOA clubs include:

CLARO based on Harrogate, Ripon and Nidderdale
SYO South Yorkshire Orienteers
EBOR based on Selby, York, Malton and Scarborough
HALO Humberside and Lincolnshire Orienteers
EPOC East Pennine Orienteering Club, including Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Wakefield
LUUOC Leeds University Union Orienteering Club


You are welcome to compete in three events before taking out membership. Different fees apply to seniors and juniors (20 years or less). There are two levels of membership:

  • membership of British Orienteering only
  • membership of both British Orienteering and your local club (including their regional association)

Membership runs from 1st January to 31st December but new members joining from October are automatically registered until the end of the following year.

More details about membership and joining the club


The orienteering 'season' spans from September to June. In summer, annual and bi-annual orienteering festivals are very popular such as the Scottish 6 Days, the Welsh 6 Days and on the North Yorkshire Moors the White Rose event is held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. In a season, AIRE typically organises one or two National (Level B) events and five Regional (Level C) events together with night, relay, Local (Level D) and training events. On Wednesday evenings during the Autumn and Winter we hold a series of Local night score league events and in the spring and summer we hold a series of Local linear and sprint league events. Periodically AIRE contributes to the organisation of national and international competitions. AIRE liaises with local authorities to establish and manage Permanent Orienteering Courses (POCs). String Courses are designed to introduce younger children to orienteering and are a regular feature at events.

Social activities have included ceilidhs, picnics, training weekends in the Lake District, dinners and 'fun' orienteering events, eg. 'Vampire-O'!!! An AIRE focus is often present at the major national competitions. A year-round programme of 'Tuesday Night Runs' gives club members the opportunity to train and meet regularly.


Our regular club magazine, AIRE Affairs, can be emailed or posted to you. There is also an interim information sheet that can be collected from our orienteering and social events. You can find out about orienteering organised by other clubs in the region by picking up their leaflets at events. BOF membership provides a regular newsletter and national fixtures list are provided on their website. Subscription to the bi-monthly magazine Compass Sport gives you the most up to date details of national fixtures plus articles covering orienteering techniques, mapping, event reports, etc.

Club Organisation

The club is run by a committee which is elected at an AGM in October and comprises Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Fixtures Secretary and at least four members. The committee meets monthly to manage club activities and is supported by other club members performing such vital roles as Equipment Officer, Membership Secretary, Mapping Officer and Club Captain, our team manager.

Event Organisation

The sport is quite labour intensive and relies on the voluntary effort of many members to organise its events. In general, orienteers enjoy making things happen as well as participating. Our main orienteering events involve an event organiser and a course planner. The competition is overseen by a controller, usually from a neighbouring club.

Other Airienteers help on a team basis. Every club member is allocated to one of three teams 1, 2 or 3. One team is asked to help at National (level B) or Regional (C) events on a rotating basis. Each team contains a set of team leaders each responsible for one of the following tasks:

  • parking/traffic
  • assembly/registration
  • start
  • finish and results

When a team has been allocated to an event, the team leaders will contact the members of their team to ask if they can help at the event. You should get plenty of notice for when you will be required. Each helper is only called on for one or two hours giving plenty of time for an early or late run. Helpers are rewarded with a helper voucher entitling them to a reduced entry fee for one event! It is assumed that club members will be willing to help two or three times a year.

Benefits of this system are:

  • Easing the load on the event organiser who will only need to liaise with the five team leaders, rather than recruiting helpers directly.
  • Increasing the overall efficiency of running events as teams build up expertise in undertaking their tasks and working together.
  • Improving equity of involvement from all club members.

Helping at an event is the best way to learn more about the sport and to become part of the club. When you volunteer to help, tell the organiser and your team leader that you are new to orienteering, to AIRE or to both. Ask them to introduce themselves and request an explanation of what you need to do. Airienteers is a large club with members from as far afield as Garforth east of Leeds to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. Even long-standing members do not know everyone and may not realise that you are new to the sport or club.

Club Kit

The distinctive green, white and black orienteering tops help club members spot one another at events and contribute to the team spirit in relay competitions. When you feel ready to declare your club identity just contact the Club Kit Coordinator to place an order. Professional suppliers of orienteering equipment such as compasses, whistles and studded running shoes often attend larger events where they are referred to as 'traders'.


'Pathways to Excellence - Orienteering', by Peter Palmer, is a very readable account of a family's introduction to orienteering and their progress through the following years. It is available from orienteering equipment suppliers.

Further Information

As a new member of AIRE, you will receive:

  • a copy of BOF's 'Let's Go Orienteering' leaflet
  • the latest issue of 'Aire Affairs', which includes an up-to-date local fixtures list
  • this year's Club Membership list

These should answer many questions about orienteering and Airienteers but if you need to know more, please feel free to contact us.