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Orienteering in Köykkyri

It was the middle of April and we were 5 weeks into our lockdown in Finland. Over the weekend, my wife suggested we all get out and get some exercise together. This was the first time that we had planned anything during the lockdown and as anyone with 3 kids, including a 2 year old, would know, it would not be straightforward! Her suggestion was to go to Köykkyri and try our hand at orienteering. We could get out and get some fresh air, exercise and give our older children (8 & 11) a bit of a mental workout as well.

I had often been running around forests of Köykkyri while the children played football, but I had never heard of the orienteering routes until now. None of us had ever done any orienteering before, but she had installed the app on her phone and we brought our trusty dog, Finn along, just in case we got lost!

The Mobo app itself has many different orienteering routes all over Finland and beyond, but we chose the one nearest to the Zeppelin shopping centre. We parked the car at the Köykkyri outdoor sports area and got organised just as the snow started to fall. Opening the app, we started looking for the first marker. There are 14 markers on the Köykkyri course and the route winds its way through the forest which we shared with off road cyclists, frisbee golfers and the last of the seasons hard core cross country skiers! We set off up the ski hill in search of the first marker. Once we found it, we simply scanned the QR code with the app to log the marker and we moved onto the 2nd marker.

As we moved further into the woods, we left the few people that we had seen, behind and we soon had the forest to ourselves. The older kids were enthusiastically hunting for the next marker while the baby nodded off on my back. We walked along the fat biking trails, over ditches full of meltwater and deeper into the forest for about an hour. Arriving at the 3rd marker, we decided to stop for a small snack. After a half hour break, we decided that 3 markers was enough for the kids for one day and we started walking back to the car.

Arriving back, we let our 2 year old have a little run around at the base of the ski hill, while our middle son decided to run up the wooden steps a couple of times. As we watched him charge up the stairs, we sat on a bench next to the outdoor gym and reflected on what a hidden gem we had discovered. While orienteering can be a bit intimidating, it was great fun to just wander through the forests looking for the markers and enjoy some family fun. The Köykkyri area is full of activities for all tastes and there is more than enough space to enjoy. Next time we come, we will move a bit further around the trail in search of more markers. This was an excellent way to get some exercise while following the lockdown and social distancing rules.

Ian Walker
CEO Aurora Solutions