British Orienteering has produced the latest Back to Orienteering Guidance for England.
With the current lockdown restrictions being eased across all areas of England as the country moves to Step 1 of the Government's roadmap later this month. This will mean that organised outdoor orienteering, including competitions and coaching, can resume in England from Monday 29 March 2021.
The Government has not yet produced detailed guidance for the restart of grassroots sport. However British Orienteering understands that the full guidance may not be available until nearer the restart date.
British Orienteering have therefore taken the decision to publish British Orienteering's draft guidance for the restart of events now, so that clubs can begin to make plans. There have been very few changes from the guidance that was in force before this lockdown began. However, this is being publishing with the caveat that the British Orienteering guidance may need to be revised when the Government guidance for sport is published, particularly if the Government guidance proves to be more restrictive than is currently expected.
British Orienteering's guidance reflects the Government's requirement that, from 29 March, everyone should continue to minimise travel wherever possible. Beyond saying that overnight stays are not allowed, the Government has not clarified what 'minimising travel' means in practice, and there are not currently any defined limits on travel distances or times. Along with other outdoor and adventure sports, we are waiting to see whether any further clarification on this is provided when the Government guidance for sport is published. If it is, then this guidance will be updated accordingly.
In any case, British Orienteering are clear that it will not require clubs or organisers to check how far participants have travelled. Ultimately it will be down to individual participants to satisfy themselves that their travel plans fall within the letter and the spirit of what the Government has asked us all to do.
When England moves to Step 2 of the roadmap, which will be on Monday 12 April at the earliest, overnight stays will be allowed. The expectation is that Government guidance on travel to be relaxed at this point, and a further update of the British Orienteering guidance published if required.
British Orienteering are also writing to the major landowners, including Forestry England, the National Trust, and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, to find out their timetables for allowing orienteering competitions to resume on their land and whether they are intending to apply any additional constraints.
For all the latest guidance and support documents, visit our COVID webpage.
Further Event Updates
British Championships 2021
Organising for the various British Championships in the current climate is very difficult. All those involved in hosting the British Championships this year are working hard to find a way to stage their event in 2021. British Orienteering are providing information now to allow those who wish to take part in the British Championships to plan their diary and training schedule accordingly, but all dates for the 2021 British Championships are currently provisional. We are working with each of the organising teams to agree a cut-off date, at which point a decision about whether it is possible for the events to go ahead in accordance with the COVID-19 restriction across the various parts of the UK.
The British Middle Championships on Summerhouse Knott, in the Lake District, have been rescheduled to Saturday 5 June, as a result of the restrictions that will still be in place in May. The Northern Championships on High Dam have moved with the Middles and will now take place on Sunday 6 June.
The British Sprint Relay Championships & British Sprint Championships in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, have lost landowner permission for the original dates in June and have been rescheduled to Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 August.
The British Long Championships are currently being planned for Saturday 2 October 2021 at Braunton Burrows, in Devon. We had already agreed to cancel the British Relay Championships for 2021, but there are plans for a second individual event on Sunday 3 October on the same area.
The British Night Championships on Cleeve Hill, near Cheltenham, have been provisionally rescheduled for Saturday 27 November. BOK is hoping to stage an event the next day, near Coleford, to make a weekend of orienteering in the South West.
Report Carol Iddles, Chair of Bristol Orienteering Klub (BOK)
Once we realised that the lockdown might be lifted at the end of March, the search started for an area we could use to have our first event in 2021.
We were fortunate to have Pen Hill, above Wells, Somerset available. The landowner has always been very accommodating and supportive of all our events there in the past. The short lead-in time for getting this event off the ground meant that we decided to have a Score course, plus White and Yellow courses for children/beginners.
We did have problems with permission for the use of an access track not apparently owned by the landowner, which was resolved only 10 days before the event. We also had issues with the firm supplying the toilets, which arrived only 13.00 the day before. Our Permissions guru, Jo Foster, had to work so hard in the run up to the event.
In the end we had a glorious (if chilly) day with 167 runners over the three courses. We ran two starts to separate out the runners over the 150 minutes of the start window. The terrain was open grassland, forest, farmland and large pheasant pens. We had wonderful dry weather the week before the event, so underfoot was so different from the conditions when we tagged the control sites. On the day, the bluebells, wild garlic and dog’s mercury were just beginning to cover the ground, and would be spectacular in a couple of weeks. As Controller I doubted that anyone would get round the course in an hour, as there was significant climb; but the winner was Jim Bailey (M18) in 49.54 with Cecilie Andersen in second place (W21 and GB Senior squad) in 52.49.
The three officials: Jackie Hallett (Organiser), Michael Hallett (Planner) with myself as Controller received very many favourable comments from the runners who were so glad to get out and compete for the first time in months.
Celebrating the re-start of orienteering
What activities or events has your club got organised? Have you recently attended a re-start event? How did you find it?
Maybe you have downloaded a Permanent Orienteering and/or Virtual Orienteering Course and enjoyed it with your family? Or you have recently enjoyed taking part in a local MapRun course or even designed your own MapRun course for members of your club to take part in?
However, you have been taking part in orienteering, share your experiences with others who may not have re-started orienteering at their club yet.
Share your orienteering news, snippets, and photos: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To view the current British Orienteering Guidance visit:
British Orienteering is pleased to announce that experienced financial and inclusion professional Laura Kaye Tomlinson has joined its board of directors, providing valuable strategic expertise to the organisation’s leadership team.
Laura’s professional background is as a qualified accountant, auditor and award-winning small business advisor; Laura owns a group of organisational development companies which provide regulated training programmes to SMEs.
Outside of work, she had had a lifelong involvement in basketball – from participating (poorly) at grassroots level, to actively officiating and also developing officials at the elite level of the game. Laura was honoured to be awarded Basketball England’s lifetime services award for Officiating in 2012.
Laura passionately believes that all sport can be an enabler for community cohesion and inclusion, and the development of individual leadership skills. As such she welcomes the opportunity to use the skills she has acquired in both her professional and sporting career to support the aims of British Orienteering and the growth of the sport.
Following Sunday's statement from the Prime Minister, British Orienteering is working as quickly as possible to understand what the changes to the COVID-19 restrictions and the associated government guidance will mean for orienteering. In doing this, we will be speaking to a number of our partners, including to understand any differences between the government guidance that applies in different parts of the UK. If appropriate, we will update and recirculate the draft "Back to Orienteering" action plan, which we consulted on last week. In the meantime, all orienteering events and activities continue to be suspended.