Mid Wales

Orienteering event attracts over 2,000 to Aberystwyth

Megan Carter Davies
Image caption Megan Carter Davies takes the energetic approach at Llynnoedd Teifi

Organisers say an orienteering event which attracted more than 2,000 competitors to mid Wales has been a 'massive' boost to the local economy.

Five hundred people stayed at Aberyswyth University halls of residence during Croeso 2012.

Another 400 camped, whilst another 1,000 used local tourist accommodation.

Orienteering involves walking or running whilst navigating around a course using a detailed map and sometimes a compass.

"We have over 2,000 competitors which makes Croeso 2012 the biggest orienteering event in the UK this year," says the event co-ordinator, Dave Brodie.

"A quarter of them are coming from overseas, almost all visiting Wales for the first time."

"There are 100 runners from Switzerland alone. We even have representation from Russia and the USA, even Japan.

"We've had to re-plan some aspects of the competition to cope with the numbers."

Family atmosphere

Croeso is a four-yearly orienteering festival held in a different part of Wales each time.

This year's event used Aberystwyth University as its event centre.

"The whole week has been fantastic, with brilliant weather," said Gabriella Walsh, another of the organisers.

"The first competition was at Gwanas near Four Crosses, Dolgellau on Sunday then we've moved around the mid-Wales area," said Ms Walsh.

Ms Walsh said orienteering was getting to be more popular, especially so in other countries, which accounted for the large numbers of overseas competitors.

The warm weather has been welcomed by everyone, and has not caused problems, she said.

"People are used to the weather, and in fact the nice weather has meant that people hang around and socialise a lot more at the big assembly area we have for each day.

"There's been a real sociable, family atmosphere and having so many people here has been a huge boost to the local economy.

"We've printed a photo-trail of Aberystwyth, like a little treasure hunt, so there have been groups exploring the town and seeing what it has to offer too," she added.

The event ends on Saturday with the day based around the Aberystwyth University campus and Penglais Woods.

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