Whilst I realise that you're bored of reading about Covid-19, it is really important to no-mad Adventures that we keep explaining what we're doing at this time. The future is a bit murky, so ensuring that I provide as much certainty as possible is important.
Many of the people I know through no-mad Adventures, over the last fortnight have gone from being observers ("it won't happen to me") of the virus to being directly, or closely affected by it.
This has really focused me as I've been trying to work out what the 'right' thing to do is regarding services we provide is. In my other day job, I sit on the weekly crisis meeting calls for UK Athletics, and this of course, gives a very different perspective to the challenges no-mad Adventures face in a rural area.
Whilst we are all observing the rolling three week Government reviews on social distancing, I feel that no-mad as a business needs to be a bit ahead of this. And that reality, whilst a bit grim, is something that I'm certain about and committed to doing.
In all decisions around risk, there are the three key foundations, the legal, the moral and the financial motivations.
no-mad Adventures will always comply with and aim to exceed the legal requirements, and somewhat simply (as you might have read in "People and Places before Profit", the financial consideration is the last priority.
So, the decision I've been focusing on is the moral one.
There is the possibility that we could start trading again, the moment the restrictions ease, but this oversimplifies the issue. If you want to get an idea of the level of thought that has gone into this, go have a read of the WHO Guidance that describes good practice for event organisers.
The clear issue that all 'gatherings' have is that until there is a vaccine there is a clear transmission risk that as an operator bringing people together, I must manage, and make provision for. Not just for the participant, but also for those people who they contact when they return from our courses. Additionally, I fully recognise that no-mad Adventures brings people to an area where our small community needs support and protection. It does currently look like tourism and hospitality services which are a big attraction to this area are likely to be the last to see restrictions lifted. And, all this means a whole lot of really grey areas.
However, in this moment I believe that whilst outdoor adventures, and skills teaching are important, the world and more importantly our customers and supply chain need as much certainty as possible. So, here is how no-mad is going to operate for the foreseeable future.
As of today, all guided activities (leading, Mountain Training or National Navigation Award Scheme or bespoke) run by no-mad Adventures are cancelled to the end of June.
Any participants are offered a full refund, or a choice to take a voucher to re-book in the future. I have written to everyone affected this morning. Please get in touch if you think I have missed you.
I will maintain a 6 week lead time on decisions, so by the middle of May we will make a decision on July activities. This will likely be a rolling situation until at least the end of 2020.
As soon as the restrictions change, we will offer low ratio adventures and courses until all restrictions are lifted, even if as a sector we can legally operate 'normally'.
For our supply chain
I am also currently working quite hard to establish whether no-mad Adventures can do more to financially support the freelance guides and First Responders that work for us, and how I can financially support events that we are involved with. I'm also looking at a recovery programme for those involved in the sector, and who want to be involved in the sector where no-mad Adventures can provide heavily discounted skills courses for locals and/or pre-pay course providers we work with. This will, I hope, create resilience and create cash-flow in our immediate sector. This is no easy task, and is taking much time pushing numbers around spreadsheets, but this is something that I feel epitomises everything no-mad Adventures stands for. I hope to be in a position to communicate this in the next 4 weeks.
It's a bit wordy, communicating this way, but this isn't a "we'll just turn the tap back on" type scenario, it's taken a lot of thought to get to here.
If navigation is your thing, remember there are puzzles published every Wednesday - have a look at them all in one place here. Stay fit, healthy mentally and do everything you can to support your community (whether that is family, home, running, mountains or events).
Finally, I keep remembering that ultra running mantra "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just keep moving forward". So, If you've read this far. You've got it!
The mountains will still be there when we're through this. Keep dreaming.