Photo shoot: Rugged runners of forest and fell

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THE fast and physical sport of orienteering is a world away from the memories many of us hold from school trips to the countryside and Scout camp. In short, orienteering is navigating through moor and forest terrain between set marked points using a special map.

Choose your own route, and the fastest competitor to compete the course wins. On paper, simple enough, but orienteering is extremely challenging. However, its attraction lies in the combination of the stunning places runners get to visit, the mental contest and the exercise.

The sport caters for virtually all ages and ability, from the elite runners who last week tackled a 13km course in the Lake District, which involved 2,000ft of climb through difficult, wooded terrain in under 80 minutes, to the seven to 70 year olds who compete every week. It is a growing sport, more than 1,100 events were held in the UK last year, and there are high hopes of inclusion in the 2004 Olympics.

The World Cup came to Lake District for three races, attracting more than 200 competitors from 29 nations, including Denmark's Carsten Jorgensen, the European cross-country champion, who ignores lucrative opportunities in athletics because "orienteering's more fun."

Copies of these photographs - and others by The Independent's sports photographers, David Ashdown, Peter Jay and Robert Hallam, can be ordered by telephoning 0171 293 2534.