The best way to start is to have a go!
You'll need suitable clothing - something comfortable for walking/running and which covers your legs (even parks have nettles in odd corners!) and suitable shoes/trainers - trail shoes are ideal if you have them. A compass is useful for helping you keep the map the correct way around, but don't rush out and buy one immediately - you may be able to borrow one, and it's best to see what other members are using to help you decide on one suitable for orienteering. All except small, informal events will use electronic timing, but you can hire a timing chip - an SI card, usually known as a "dibber" - when you register for the event.
All events will have a Help Desk manned by club members who will talk you through the procedures, but if you feel more comfortable finding out a little more about it beforehand then the following will help:
- British Orienteering's Newcomer's Guide
- Ordnance Survey's Beginner's Guide
- the Maprunner website's Guide to Map Symbols
You won't need to memorise all the symbols at once - East Anglian maps don't tend to have cliffs or rock fields, for instance - and you may be able to find a map of the area which has been used for a previous event on the Club's Routegadget website (links are given on our Event Areas page). Maps are updated for each event, and the courses will obviously be freshly planned, but the older map will give you an idea of what to expect and the most important colours and symbols to be aware of.