THE first permanent orienteering course in Richmondshire will be opened at Catterick Garrison next weekend.

Cleveland Orienteering Klub has been talking to the district council for two years about expanding into the dales area. The only one of its kind in the region, the club covers an area from Whitby to the Yorkshire dales and from Northallerton to Hartlepool.

Mike Hardy, the club's development officer, outlined its proposals to the council's economic, cultural and leisure committee on Tuesday.

He said the Round Howe area of Richmond had been identified as a possible site for another course and the scheme had attracted a £500 grant from the British army orienteering club.

The Cleveland club also hoped to help establish the sport as a division of Swaledale outdoor club and develop links with schools in Richmondshire.

Orienteering, which involves walking or running with navigation, route finding and map reading, was introduced by the Cleveland club to last summer's annual Green Howards activity day at Richmond.

Eight sessions for primary schools were also run at a science and technology fair at Darlington college's Catterick Garrison campus. Mr Hardy said members also hoped to map the Aske estate, near Richmond, home of Lord Zetland. The course at Catterick Garrison opens on Sunday, December 2.

Coun Richard Good, who runs a scout group at Reeth, welcomed the club's involvement in the district.

"It is certainly something we should encourage," he told the meeting. "It is a relatively low cost activity which can be enjoyed by many people."