Every morning I wake up, wander to the kitchen and look out at this view.
Not being able to get into the hills personally is taking a massive amount of will power. As much as I might feel capable and competent to go exploring, I am desperately trying to get my 'fix' from low level, low risk activities.
I'm very grateful for the support over the last couple of months. As of this morning, we have not received one refund request; all those booked on courses/trips have moved their booking to 2021, with dates yet to be confirmed. I'll continue to reassure you that any money that has been paid for courses has been 'ring-fenced' until such time that the course can go ahead. i.e. no-mad Adventure is not using course fees to keep the business running. This means that if, in 2021, you wish to receive a refund, the money is there to do it.
In my other day job I'm involved with trying to work out how to get organisations 'back to training'. And this is seriously no easy task. As a brief insight - one of the things that I'm considering is this process, that I stand by, and how it applies to no-mad.
Providers should prepare a risk assessment to be followed before resumption of training that informs what can or cannot be. The risk assessment should cover (guidance only, should be added to specific for provider’s needs).
a. What steps need to be taken to ensure social distancing is maintained in the training environment.
b. Any providers who need to work in close contact with others have access to the relevant PPE.
c. Ensuring any venue hosts/operators can meet their commitments to the guidance.
d. Steps to determine maximum capacity levels for the various spaces used by providers.
e. Checks to ensure local emergency medical cover/assistance can be accessed in the event of a catastrophic injury requiring medical care or hospitalisation
f. That all clients who are engaged in the training environment are formally appraised of the risks, mitigating steps and actively ‘opt in’ up to engaging in the training sessions.
g. That minimum but necessary staffing levels of calculated to balance training need, distancing protocols and reducing risk of burden to the NHS.
h. The responsible person in the organisation is known to all staff and clients in case anyone wishes to log an issue or complaint.
i. A clear position on how persons who are deemed vulnerable interact with the training environment in line with PHE/W/S guidance on vulnerable individuals.
j. Special considerations for those who need support with complex impairments or the consequences of. This should an assessment of any carers needs within the environment being able to be met in line with any government guidance for carers.
k. Ensuring training choices are made with minimising the injury risk/NHS burden at the forefront of consideration.
l. Appropriate medical cover being in place.
m. Being aware that the ‘normal’ operation of training may not be the limiting factor, and that it may be emergency action plans (for example first aid or evacuation) that may place the greatest restrictions on capacity.
Obviously, we don't know how the next few months are going to develop, and specifically how we can return to training, and indeed even if the legal restrictions on footpaths and access land will be lifted prior to the current relaxing date of 26th September 2020.
And, equally beyond this, the additional social issues that we all face and must deal with together, social poverty etc are weighing heavy on my decision making. Given all the challenges that we face as a nation, as much as I want to plan ahead and ask you to book on to training with no-mad, at the moment, I just can't justify that stance. And nor would I expect you to feel okay to think we know what is coming, a luxury or a necessity.
This morning, Ultra Trail Wales was postponed to 14th August 2021. And with it we have emailed all the participants booked on to the recce's in July offering a refund or a transfer to a future date. Likewise, all Mountain Training and National Navigation Award Scheme training dates before the middle of September have been postponed.
*If* things change in a positive way, we will be very reactive to the situation, and can guarantee we will create options for you to get out, and get more skills or have more adventures. And, I hope that we can count on your ongoing support into whatever our new normal looks like. I'll continue to add things on navigation puzzles, just to keep your skills stay-at-home fresh.
Please follow the guidance that is relevant - it is perhaps a bit confusing at the moment, but this too will settle with time and be more clear.
Stay fit (mentally and physically) and look forward to catching up as soon as it is responsible to do so.