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Tweet Sunday 27th December 2020

Looking Back at 2020: Overview Snapshot - from the month of August 2020

1st August – Northern Ireland held the UK’s second orienteering event back at Meelmore in the Mournes.

Lagan Valley Orienteers held their first proper timed event since March 2020.

Mark Pruzina member of Lagan Valley Orienteers comments:

“Here in Northern Ireland, Lagan Valley Orienteers held our first proper timed event since March on 1 August at Meelmore in the Mournes. We were able to offer 80 pre-entry places with 10 starts per 15 minutes in compliance with British Orienteering guidance.

We used SIAir and SRR Radio Controls which worked well with live Start, Finish and one Radio Control data coming back to me at Registration 1km away. This meant that the entire race was contact free from Start to Finish, with minimal contact and good social distancing at Registration/Download.

Social distancing was great throughout and everything was relatively unhurried and relaxed due to the spacing of the 80 people across the 2 hours. When I uploaded the results to British Orienteering website that night, I thought we might be the first proper timed event in the UK since March!

Everyone had a great time. The joy of getting out into an actual competitive, timed event was amazing.”

Juls Hanvey, Northern Ireland Sporting Clubs Coordinator who attended the event, said: "I heard three different people say: “Our sport was made for social distancing!” – so true!"

Read more here.

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1 August - British Orienteering held first ever Annual General Meeting online.

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National Campaign Sees Permanent Orienteering Courses Boom

British Orienteering continued to roll out the national campaign 'Outdoor Adventure Awaits' promoting Permanent and Virtual Orienteering Courses across the UK.

The campaign was launched as lockdown restrictions started to ease British Orienteering worked alongside orienteering clubs to promote Permanent Orienteering Courses as a way of discovering the outdoors in a socially distanced way.  Many clubs did local radio interviews.

A new video was also released by the Orienteering Foundation, and included as part of the campaign, explaining how to get started on a Permanent Orienteering Course.

Jennie Taylor British Orienteering's Communications Officer, comments:
The campaign's aim was to promote Permanent and Virtual Orienteering Courses and encourage people who had never tried orienteering before, to download a map from the British Orienteering website or from their local club and enjoy being outside whilst exercising in the fresh air in a socially distanced way.

This was the second phase of the campaign.  Within the first couple of weeks the main focus was on targeting families outside of British Orienteering, via social media through national family websites and local radio. Then the next couple of weeks targeted competitive adults. This was done via national media and running websites, social media, national organisations, outdoor groups, and partners."

Looking at the campaign stats and the groups of 6 or less using the maps highlighted a participation increase of over 11,000 on the same period last year.

Permanent Orienteering Download Data from the British Orienteering Website

The data below refers to the data period of 1 June to 6 August and compares the same periods from 2019 and 2020.

This is data from the British Orienteering database:

 

2019

2020

Difference to 2020

Map downloads

2,029

5,874

+3,845

Number of participants

16,666

24,767

+8,101

Find out more here.

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The month of August saw many more clubs celebrating the re-starting of orienteering according to the COVID guidance published.

Here are some examples of first returning events put in by clubs which were published on the British Orienteering website and social media.

  • Forth Valley Orienteers Enjoy Second "Back to the Forest" Event.  Read more here.

  • Suffolk Orienteering Club enjoy organised first events post Lockdown.  Read more here.

  • Returning to competition, Border Liners enjoyed a successful weekend club event at sunny Faulds Brow near Caldbeck. With restricted numbers, entry in advance and social distancing from start to finish, the organisers were rightly praised by competitors for bringing the sport back to North Cumbria in a safe manner in line with British Orienteering guidance after months away.  Read more here.
  • Nottinghamshire Orienteering Club held first event in the East Midlands "Back to the Forest".  
    “It is great to back orienteering in a forest” was the most common reaction after the Burntstump local event organised by Nottinghamshire Orienteering Club (NOC). Burntstump Country Park is a small forest surrounding a cricket pitch but it is a forest with hills, trees and undergrowth.  Many of the 55 participants had been doing MapRun and the odd urban event “but it is not quite the same”.
    “We really appreciate NOC putting on the first real event in the East Midlands” after the lockdown.  Read more here.

Forth Valley Event
Suffolk map extract
Border Liners flag in the sun
NOC - two map extracts

20 August – SOA Delivered Successful Online Orienteering Training

As part of SOA response to the Covid-19 situation the staff development team has been exploring new ways of supporting training through delivery of online courses. Over a block of 4 weekly sessions in July and August we were able to deliver our first online Introducing Orienteering course to 18 Leisure and Learning staff from Aberdeenshire Council.

Introducing Orienteering is normally a very hands-on practical course, so some innovative rethinking was needed to ensure that learners were able to pick up and practice basic orienteering skills, as well as to set up games and exercises for others to take part in. Where possible, activities such as setting up a cone grid were completed online during the workshops, in this example using household materials ranging from tins of beans to post-it notes in place of cones. Between sessions, learners were set various activities and tasks to practice the skills and games that they had learnt, and to record this with photos and videos.

Some positive comments of feedback from learners included:

“Excellent format that worked well. Easy to maintain interest.”
“Very good content and good progression. Excellent resources and links to follow up.”
“The quality of resources and clear and helpful steer to complete these tasks made it easier. The encouragement to try resources and tasks at hubs was a big plus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more here.

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19 August – ScotJOS Training Restarted

ScotJOS, the Scottish Junior Orienteering Squad, enjoyed their first post Lockdown training session at Kinnoull Hill.

ScotJOS had a great day back out in the forest on Sunday 16th August. To meet the new regulations, the juniors and coaching team met as 5 small training groups (or bubbles) rather than as a complete squad.

Jon Musgrave, ScotJOS Coach, planned 5 fantastic and challenging exercises each with a different start point and the groups rotated round the 5 stations in order. There were corridor and line exercises, a control pick and an exercise on longer legs. Kinnoull Hill has a myriad network of small paths and just to provide an additional challenge all of these were removed from the training maps.

For anyone whose orienteering brain had been lacking use over the past few months, the exercises certainly got them working again! With all the worry about meeting regulations, the only incident of the day was completely unrelated to Covid and involved an encounter with a wasps nest.

The new format was very well received by juniors and coaches and was great fun as well as intensive training. The feeling of a return to new form of normality was evident and seeing smiling faces in the forest again was fantastic. Huge thanks to all the coaches and parents who made this session happen. 

Read more here.

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ScotJOS.  Comparing notes
Essex Stragglers
Wrekin Orienteers

More club returning events put on by clubs held adhering to the guidance.

Here are some more examples of returning events put in by clubs.

  • Essex Stragglers Welcomed Back Orienteers with Series of Urban Events
    Orienteers were welcomed back with a series of six fortnightly mid-week urban orienteering events.  The event was their second and was held at Chelmer Village through a complex labyrinth of winding roads and footpaths posing quite a challenge with plenty of route choice, and attracted 35 participants on a wet and blustery evening.  Read more here.

  • Wrekin Orienteers Enjoy Postbox Orienteering

    Like clubs all over the UK, Wrekin Orienteers usual have a summer series of sociable mid-week evening events but these had to be abandoned when coronavirus forced a national lockdown. However, as restrictions started to ease they found another way to get their “fix”.

    Club member Richard Rogers said:  “When lockdown was announced, a couple of us started to look more actively at MapRun as a way to provide some informal courses through the summer. The British Orienteering webinars on MapRun and OpenOrienteeringMap really helped us in learning how to set courses up quickly, and my club mate Lawrie Jones took up the idea of using the online postbox database to give us a ready-made selection of distinctive controls - a nice change from street-lamps and telegraph poles!” 

    Read more here.

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