The Potteries Orienteering Club (POTOC) was formed in 1975 and its aim is to promote the sport of orienteering in North Staffordshire and neighbouring areas.
The club has continued to grow over the years and is always welcoming to new members. POTOC is run by a committee elected annually at the AGM in October.
Club ‘O’ Tops are red with a white and green yoke, with the club logo bottle oven and fir trees in red on the left breast.
The club organises a series of local events each year within Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas. A typical local event might take place in a park or on former colliery sites within Stoke such as Chatterly Whitfield. These events usually take place on a Saturday morning (or weekday evenings in the summer) and they are perfect for beginners who are new to orienteering. Beginners will be directed to a course where the map reading is typically very easy. Course lengths vary from the shortest courses which are around 2km up to around 6km for the longest course. Family members may run (or walk) together at these events and although the results are published the emphasis is very much on introducing people to the sport. Club members are always on hand at local events to give a friendly welcome to newcomers who want to give orienteering a try.
POTOC also organises Regional events which are the next step up from local events in terms of difficulty of terrain and length of course. They usually attract orienteers from all over the Midlands area. Regional or "Colour Coded" events are the lifeblood of orienteering and typically take place on a Sunday morning with start times from 10am to 12 noon. The 2 main areas where POTOC currently organise these events are Bathpool Country Park and Park Hall Country Park. Both these areas provide challenging technical terrain where map reading is tricky.
Urban events are a relatively new phenomenon within orienteering and have come about within the last decade as traditional forest areas have become harder to find. Urban orienteering events take place solely within towns and built up areas so therefore the navigational challenge is reduced but with good planning there is still some navigational ability required. POTOC has put on a number of Urban events in recent years including 3 well attended events in Leek and Hanley.
The club occasionally hosts national events and in 2018 we had the honour of organising a day of the Jan Kjellstrom International Orienteering Festival - commonly known within orienteering as "The JK". This event attracts up to 5000 competitors from across Europe and is one of the most prestigious events in orienteering. POTOC was instrumental in the success of the event which took place at Beaudesert Park near Cannock Chase.
The club runs an in-club league which promotes a bit of healthy competition between POTOC members. The league runs from the 1st November to the 31st October the following year, with the winners being the club champions. All national, regional and major events in the UK qualify.
There is additionally a one-off Club Handicap Competition which is held in November or December at a regional event organised by one of our neighbouring clubs.
Responsibilities of Committee / Non Committee Members
- Gordon Witte - Chairman, Local Events Co-ordinator
- Henry Morgan - Vice Chairman, Club Coach, Schools and Junior Development
- Jean Rostron - Club Secretary
- John Heaton - Mapping Officer, Welfare Officer, Equipment Records, POC Manager, Permanent Course Contact, Treasurer, Participation Records
- John Pigott - SI Coordinator
- Marian Denham - Club Coach, Fixtures Secretary
- Brenda Morgan - WMOA Representative, Club Coach
- Graham Pigott - Webmaster
- Andrew Rowe - Club League Manager/Statistician
- Rob Holdway - Committee Member, Online meeting co-ordinator
Non Committee Members;
- Lil Bales - Potter Editor
- Martin Pigott - Team Captain, Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator, Map Librarian (e-maps)
- Paul Graetz - Equipment Store Key Holder
- Mark Clews - MapRun Administrator
Meetings and Social Events
The AGM is held in October with monthly committee meetings also taking place. All members are welcome to attend Commitee meetings which at the moment are taking place on Zoom. Additionally the club hosts an annual award presentation evening, usually in January. This sees the presentation of trophies, a quiz and a 3 course sit down meal.
"The Potter" Newsletter
A club newsletter, The Potter, is produced four times a year. This keeps members abreast of what is going on in the world of orienteering and includes contributions from club members about their orienteering experiences, as well as a calendar of upcoming events and the latest league standings.
The principal team event within orienteering is known as The Compass Sport Cup. This is a national inter-club competition which takes pace annually with the first round usually in March. There are 2 separate competitions for small clubs and larger clubs (based on member numbers) and POTOC competes in the small clubs competition. We have became national champions once in 1994 and have progressed to the final as recently as 2016. The Compass Sport Cup is a great way for club members to come together for a day and compete as team and is many club members highlight of the year.
Coaching, Training and Development
Orienteering is a challenging sport and indeed that is what attracts many people to compete at it. The importance of map reading ability cannot be underestimated and it is a vital skill to learn. POTOC regularly hold coaching sessions which are targetted at complete beginners who have never used a map before. The best way to get involved to begin with is to attend a local event where experienced club members will be available to help with the basic techniques such as the use of a compass.
The Potteries Orienteering Club has been awarded Club Mark status.
Information on how POTOC can help schools with orienteering can be found via our Orienteering in Schools page.
Data Protection (GDPR)
British Schools Orienteering Association
West Midlands Orienteering Association
City of Birmingham Orienteering Club
Harlequins Orienteering Club
Manchester & District Orienteering Club
Deeside Orienteering Club
Derwent Valley Orienteers
Green Door CIO