The Orienteering Performance Programme provides a top-class training environment and support structure to the best orienteers in the UK.

Alastair Thomas competing

One of the most highly regarded of its kind in the UK, the University of Edinburgh Performance Sport Programme enables athletes to achieve a world-class degree and perform to the best of their ability. The University of Edinburgh Orienteering Programme prides itself on developing talented orienteers with potential and a positive attitude into performance athletes. In return for your dedication and hard work, we will offer you world-class training facilities and support to allow you to be the best you can be:

  • Professional Head Coach
  • Full-time Strength & Conditioning support
  • Academic support
  • Performance lifestyle support
  • Nutritional advice
  • Mental skills training and assistance
  • Access to the world-renowned FASIC Sport & Exercise Medicine Clinic

The University has allowed me to train in a professional environment while allowing me to work towards my degree. In particular, they have been great at understanding that international competitions and training camps can often get in the way of university deadlines, and have put the relevant procedures in place to let me prepare for the competition, uninhibited by work.

 (Alex Carcas: UK Elite League Champion 2018 (U20), UK Elite League 2nd place 2019 (U23), JK relay Champion 2018, JK relay 2nd place 2019, BUCS relay champion 2019 5th Senior and 1st U23 at JK sprint championships 2019, Selected for the world cup in Switzerland)

The Centre of Excellence here provides a world-class environment that enables me to succeed internationally

Thomas Laraia competing

We train closely with the Scottish Elite Development Squad and attend all selection races for the Great Britain Team. Our orienteers also participate in the British Championships and the Scottish Orienteering League.

  • BUCS Orienteering Overall Champions 2006-2013 and 2015-2019
  • JK Relay Champions: Men's 2019, 2018; Women's 2019, 2014
  • British Relay Champions: Men's 2017, 2016; Women's 2017, 2014
  • Ranked #1 on CompassSport UK Club Rankings 2011-2019
Edinburgh at Night


Edinburgh mixes architectural beauty and history with a lively, fun environment and has regularly been voted as one of the most desirable places to live in the world. As part of our Performance Programme, you will develop your athletic and academic skills in tandem, competing for one of the United Kingdom’s best sporting higher education institutions and studying at a university that is consistently ranked in the top 50 in the world:

  • Over 650 degree programmes
  • Flexible study
  • Ranked 10th in the UK for graduate employability by the Times Higher Education, Global Employability Ranking 2018

Find out more about studying at Edinburgh​​​​​

We support elite athletes during the University application process by crediting athletic attainment.

Find out more about our Elite Athlete Policy:

Elite Athlete Policy​​​​

Mark Nixon headshot

Head of Performance Orienteering, Mark Nixon

Mark has been Head of Performance Orienteering at the University of Edinburgh since September 2013. During his time here he has seen many orienteering sucesses including multiple BUCS, British Relay and JK Relay titles. Under Mark’s coaching the University has had over 25 different athletes compete at all levels of international competitions from the Junior European Cup all the way to the Senior World Championships.

Mark attended the University of Edinburgh as both an undergraduate and post-graduate. During this time he went on to compete at the World Championships twice.

Career Highlights:

  • GBR Talent Squad Coach 2014-present
  • GBR coach at Junior World Championships 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • GBR coach at European Youth Championships 2015, 2017, 2018
  • GBR coach at World University Championships 2016

Set your compass to Edinburgh

We are always looking for ambitious, academic athletes to realise their potential with us. We look forward to welcoming the next generation of performance orienteers to our Performance Programme, email Head Coach, Mark Nixon, to start the conversation about your application.

Mark Nixon

Head of Performance Orienteering

Contact details