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SN local events (update 6th Jan)

Last edited: Wed 6 Jan 2021

As a result of the new national lockdown for England with effect from 6th January, all organised orienteering activities and competitions are suspended until further notice.

SN will continue to provide virtual/solo-O opportunities where possible. The news item issued by British Orienteering contains clear guidance about the use of such courses, which can only be undertaken near your own home.

We have no option but to postpone (again!) both Wisley and Alice Holt events, and cannot at this point suggest alternative dates. Lockdown restrictions are unlikely to be reviewed until mid February at the earliest.

Our biggest challenge in recent months has been to obtain land access permissions from landowners, both for competition areas and parking. We now have the added constraint of a new national lockdown.

The Wisley event had to be postponed from December and we had been hoping for a new date in February. This is no longer feasible, and from March onwards the area is off limits due to nature restrictions. We will be seeking an alternative location when we can.

Forestry England had given us a date for Alice Holt of Saturday 30th January 2021, which we will now have to postpone. The format is likely to remain as two separate small 'events' on the same day. The event was fully sold out due to the strict limit on numbers imposed by Forestry England. Those who had entered will have been sent further information via Race Signup.

There are a few things you will need to be prepared for when we do get back into the forest, because we will be adhering to the British Orienteering Covid-safe protocols, including the Participant Code of Conduct published on the BO website here. In particular, please be aware that these initial SN re-start events are likely to be:

  • closed events (i.e. available to current SN club members only), due to strict limitations on numbers
  • very limited on facilities and infrastructure (no use of buildings)
  • confirmed and finalised at relatively short notice, due to the ever-changing guidance and restrictions
  • deliberately not aimed at complete beginners/novices (we're currently unable to offer any direct assistance/tuition due to social distancing), and groups/shadowing may be discouraged
  • strictly pre-entry only - this captures details for 'track and trace' purposes, and avoids the personal interactions associated with on-the-day entries and payments
  • operated with the absolute minimum number of officials and volunteers due to the strict number limits (so unfortunately, none of the usual free runs if you offer to help - we simply won't need the usual army of helpers)
  • a little more expensive than usual because of pre-entry service costs, and the need to recover any fixed costs from the smaller numbers participating

Current opportunities to enjoy our sport remain relatively few and far between. Continue to check the British Orienteering events listings here for anything which is open to all, but there won't be anything until the current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

We still have Solo-O and virtual orienteering opportunities and you can find more detail on SN website, including the SN MapRun league (which is temporarily suspended). Other clubs may also have similar virtual activities in publicly accessible or urban areas, but you must follow the relevant Covid guidance re travel and exercise, and only use those courses in your local area.

There are plans for a Southern England GPS Orienteering League (SEGOL) for 2021 - provisional details here. These are most likely to be urban events intended as a substitute for the Southern England Orienteering Urban League (SEOUL).

A summary of what has been happening around the country during periods of Covid restrictions was shared via a British Orienteering webinar in October, a summary of which can be found on the BO Webinars page here.

It's not going to be back to normal for a while yet, but we are exploring several ideas to provide whatever we can, so you can get out again with a map and compass (or Smartphone!).