British Orienteering continues to keep our guidelines for event organisers, coaches and participants under review as the government COVID-19 guidance evolve across the UK. Protecting the health of all our participants, members, volunteers and staff, and ensuring that we play our part in suppressing the spread of COVID-19, remain our highest priorities.
Our initial understanding is that the new Government restrictions announced in England on Tuesday 22 September will continue to permit orienteering events to be held in line with the current British Orienteering guidelines. However, we will review the detailed Government guidance as it emerges and will make any necessary changes to the British Orienteering guidelines as soon as possible.
British Orienteering will also continue to work with SOA, WOA and NIOA to review the impact of the restrictions announced by the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.
We will issue a further update once the revised Government guidance for sport has become available.
Following the review of the Return to Orienteering guidance in England by the Board of British Orienteering on Tuesday 1st September, please find the link to the full document.
The key changes are:
Subject to a further review of the implementation of these revised guidelines, British Orienteering will aim to move in future revisions towards a higher start rate of up to four starters per minute from each start location, with allocated start times.
British Orienteering would welcome further feedback from clubs about their experience of operating within the current COVID-19 guidelines, and about any challenges they have encountered in obtaining permissions from landowners or local authorities.
The Board plans a further review of the guidance in October, subject to any further changes in the government guidance.
To view the current guidance visit: COVID Safe Orienteering
British Orienteering is supporting National Fitness Day again this year. We are encouraging all those who have never tried orienteering to download one of over 500 Permanent Orienteering Courses across the UK.
As we ease lockdown restrictions, orienteering clubs around the UK are getting together to promote their Permanent Orienteering Courses as a way of discovering the outdoors in a socially distanced way. There are over 500 Permanent Courses around the country and many are within easy reach of towns and cities.
A new video has just been released by the Orienteering Foundation, explaining how to get started on a Permanent Orienteering Course.
The video sets out how to understand the map and how to orientate it to match the environment around you. It gives examples of the checkpoints you could be looking for and shows you how to download a map.
Orienteering is a sport where you have to navigate your way around a series of checkpoints in the fastest time. Permanent Orienteering Courses are exactly that - permanent. They have checkpoints, in the form of posts or plaques, in forests, heathlands and parks, which you can navigate to at any time, and at your own pace.
These courses allow you to discover new areas of parks or forests that are a little bit more off the beaten track, and further from other members of the public. They're ideal for small groups or individuals, so perfect for social distancing.
It's a chance to learn something new, an opportunity for everyone to connect with the outdoors, get some exercise and have the satisfaction of completing a challenge.
Key to all orienteering is the specially drawn map. The film shows how this map works, the way the symbols are drawn and how courses are printed with a start and finish symbol and checkpoints to find on the way round. The film also shows how to line your map up with features to help you go in the right direction. Other than having the map, you need little else to get going. A compass isn't necessary on simple courses, just be dressed ready for the outdoors whether you are planning to run or walk.
Many local clubs have also been developing these courses virtually, and our Virtual Orienteering Courses can be completed using your GPS smartphone or watch. More information on Permanent and Virtual Orienteering Courses can be found on the British Orienteering website.
With the opportunity to select the difficulty of a course, look for a course in a particular terrain, search for wheelchair accessible course or embrace technology with an added virtual element, there has never been a better time to embrace your next outdoor adventure with the sport of Orienteering on National Fitness Day.
If you do one activity today, make sure you download a Permanent Orienteering Course today and go Orienteering!
Explore London on foot with TfL’s Streetspace-inspired orienteering challenges.
Transport for London (TfL) has partnered with British Orienteering to create a season of active travel-inspired urban orienteering challenges, giving Londoners the chance to explore the city in a whole new way throughout September and October. The challenges complement TfL’s Streetspace for London plan, which is helping to make space for walking, improve cycling conditions and enable people to maintain social distancing as London recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
From Dalston, to Clapham and Camden, the orienteering challenges will take people on a journey of discovery across the city utilising recently widened pathways and newly completed Streetspace schemes.
Participants can find their way around the city on carefully mapped routes. The challenge is to simply visit the 12 numbered points marked on the map with a circle and match them to their corresponding photo. Participants can find them in any order and completing the task correctly is an exercise of skill rather than speed, testing their map reading skills and ability to plan their route. Each participant who successfully finishes the challenge and submits their results will automatically be entered into a prize draw. Eight winners will be chosen at random to win a special limited-edition moquette picnic set from the London Transport Museum.
The challenges are part of the Mayor’s strategy to encourage more people to walk and take advantage of the additional space that has been created on London’s streets thanks to TfL’s Streetspace for London programme which is transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets.
Walking has been shown to have many physical benefits, including reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease and cancer, but there are wider benefits too. Walking for just 10 minutes twice a day can reduce stress and anxiety and has also been proven to reduce the risk of depression by 20-30 per cent.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner said: “Walking is a great way to explore your neighbourhood and beyond as well as being good for your mental and physical health, so I’m really pleased that TfL have teamed up with British Orienteering for this series of challenges. Our world-leading Streetspace measures include widening pavements to make it easier to make journeys on foot, which is more important than ever to avoid a damaging car-based recovery from the pandemic.”
Julie Dixon, Head of Customer Information, Design and Partnerships at TfL said: “Walking is key to London's green, healthy and sustainable recovery from coronavirus and this challenge is a fun way to enable people to experience London in a unique way and shows just how walkable London is.
“This pandemic has brought home to everyone just how important health is and the Streetspace for London measures have made it easier than ever to walk around London. Walking is great for our mental and physical health and is also vital for improving air quality and reducing congestion, making London a greener, safer place to live.”
Peter Hart, Chief Executive of British Orienteering, said: “Never has the opportunity been greater to promote and enjoy and understand the significant health benefits of being physically active in the outdoors. What better way to enjoying being out walking whilst exploring London and completing one of these challenges? These introductory fun activities are suitable for all, no matter your fitness level or map reading skills and British Orienteering are delighted to be working with TfL to support people to get out and active around the London boroughs.”
Since May, Streetspace has led to more than 65km of new or upgraded cycle infrastructure being built or currently under construction, along with more than 16,500 square metres of extra pavement space on the TfL network alone. This has enabled more people to social distance while travelling and visiting shops along major high streets in the capital. TfL has also installed a total of 1,540 extra cycle parking spaces across London, focused around busy areas like high streets and transport hubs.
The free maps and activity sheets plus the link to submit your results can be found on the British Orienteering website.
More information and resources on walking in the capital can be found on the TfL website.
Photos credits: TfL
The course and activity are specially designed by British Orienteering with the support of local London clubs, South London Orienteers (SLOW) https://slow.org.uk/ and London Orienteering Klubb (LOK) http://londonorienteering.co.uk/