Covid-secure orienteering update
from British Orienteering
Our national governing body is working with major landowners and government to promote wider acceptance of orienteering as a safe outdoor sporting activity under the latest Coronavirus restrictions.
The biggest challenge we are facing at the moment (nationally) is access/permissions. Major landowners and land managers (such as Forestry England, National Trust, MOD, national park authorities and many local authorities) have placed significant constraints on the use of their land and facilities for any organised sporting activities. Such major landowners and authorities cover a high proportion of SN's mapped areas.
The Board of British Orienteering (BO) have agreed “that the approach should be to gently encourage them to open up their land for orienteering, as being overtly assertive would not be in the longer-term best interests for the sport”. In recognition of the challenges being faced by clubs, BO have contacted a Minister from the MOD, and written to both the National Trust and Forestry England to inform them that:
- British Orienteering’s COVID-secure guidance is closely aligned with the UK Government guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation in England;
- As a sport, orienteering is unusually well-suited to social distancing measures, and our guidance builds on this to put in place comprehensive COVID-secure arrangements for orienteering events;
- Our guidance has itself been reviewed and is supported by DCMS (Dept. for Culture Media and Sport).
BO have also provided a template letter to landowners which we can use locally to explain our approach, designed to reduce health risks to competitors, officials, landowners and the general public. Events for up to 400 people have already been successfully and safely conducted by some clubs, and we are learning from their feedback.
The SN Events Secretaries, supported by the committee, are actively seeking permission to hold some initial small scale events as we attempt to re-start SN's local orienteering activity, and we will build from there.