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British Long Distance Championships 2021: Saturday 2 October 2021, Braunton Burrows

Report by Mike Forrest, Co-ordinator and member of Bristol Orienteering Klub (BOK)

You may have heard rumour that there is to be a British Long-Distance Championships this year, and if so, I can confirm that the rumour is true! Despite the possibility of late cancellation due to Covid interference with the government’s “Road Map”, Bristol and Devon Orienteering Clubs have been working together to put everything in place for a successful championships in October. A new map of the burrows has been constructed from recent LiDar plots and arial photographs, and early signs are that we will be able to turn this into a good quality map at 1:10,000 and 1:7,500 with 2.5m contours, in time for the event over the next three months. The races will take place on the Saturday afternoon, in order to give competitors time to get to the venue.

Early on in the planning of the weekend, we decided that combining the race with a British Relay Championships was a little too risky, with the very real possibility that “social distancing” will still be a requirement at sporting events, even though it does not currently seem very likely. Instead, having decided that we will stage a race on the same terrain on the following day, we have now been asked whether we would put it forward for the UKOL series of events, which we have done. Although discussions are continuing, it is likely that this will be a Middle-distance race on Sunday morning, so that competitors have a good chance of getting home by a reasonable time on Sunday night.

We are very excited at the prospect of welcoming you all to one of the best sand-dune areas in England, and confident that we can stage the high-quality orienteering experience we have been focused on staging. That is where the emphasis will be over the weekend, rather than some of the “bells and whistles” that might normally be part of a British Championships weekend (commentary, on-line results etc), and instead expect to have your orienteering abilities tested to the full on a very technical area.

Entries will open at the beginning of July, by which time further details will be accessible from the British Orienteering website and fixture list.

Braunton Burrows.  Photo credit:  Carol Pearce (Devon Orienteering Club)