a real gem - make a proper day of it and ensure good weather.
Weather wasn't the problem. Seems the farmers/landowners aren't being told when orienteers are coming, so there was people shooting on Saturday. Sounds like it isn't a new problem either, a case of clubs/people not getting the necessary permissions and presuming access is ok.
I have been in touch with Invoc and passed on the details so hopefully it won't happen again.
For small groups FCS permission isn't needed for access under SAC. You take the forest as you find it - I guess that might mean there is some shooting going on occasionally, but not sure FCS lets to commercial shooting groups.
I think a section of the forest is privately owned. And the owner had some friends in shooting but wasn't there himself. We were aware that we could go in the FCS bit but at our own risk. Given we weren't entirely convinced the friends would know where the land owners bit started and stopped, we thought we wouldn't take the risk. Nothing like a few nearby gun shots to focus the mind though...
ha, reminds me of some training down south once where we found ourselves running over troops on exercise, literally running over them as they lay in fox-holes. Don't know who got more of a fright. No live firing though.
You can go into the privately owned forest without permission too, at your own risk. They can shoot there too.
Graeme, interesting that the guidance you refer to specifically says that if it is an organised event or training session then you need to get permission from the landowner!
My concern is that if orienteers keep taking this approach to access then when the time comes that a club (INVOC for eg) want to organise say a SOL on an area (Achtermarack for eg) the landowner will say GTF!! Achtermarack is a good example because the landowner is happy to accommodate orienteers at anytime of the year but is getting pissed off with groups of them turning up to do organised training events without letting him know. Common bloody sense!
I worry that orienteering (clubs, the SOA and individuals) are playing a risky game where one day someone is going to get shot, injured by a felled tree or animal,etc during what is clearly an organised training session/event. I don't have much confidence that our selective reading of the access code will stand up in court.
I don't disagree that it's common sense and courtesy to talk to the landowner. If you don't, and they're shooting when you show up, you'll have to cancel the session.
But you are wrong - the SOA guidance doesn't specifically say you need to get permission. It doesn't mention permission, for the very good reason that you don't need it. Landowners may deny you access, but they need to give a very specific reason (e.g. we're shooting that day). Maybe worse, if the landowner does give you "permission" then they put themselves at much more risk.
The main point I wanted to make is that there's no distinction in the law between FCS and private land.
I dont understand what you mean about stand up in court. If I go into a forest "at my own risk" and a tree falls on my head, then I certainly hope/expect no court would hold the landowner responsible.
You're right, the SOA guidance states 'liase with the land owner' is the term, and there is no distinction between FCS and private land. However then SAC does state ' obtaining the permission of the relevant land managers if your event needs facilities or services, or is likely, to an unreasonable extent, to hinder land management operations, interfere with other people enjoying the outdoors or affect the environment'. Its abit of a grey area what would class as an event and what is unreasonable interference, but in the instance in question as it was'organissd', to the extent of having kites out, been advertised and required parking for 6 cars in my opinion I falls into organises event category.
By not doing liasing with/seeking permission of landmanagers it is the ability to hold an actual event/race on the area that is being risked.
My concern in terms of liability is from an organisers point of view. If (in this situation) we'd got out in the forest before realising they were shooting and had bull/cows on the area, and something had happened, I'd be abit nervous (as the organiser) when it turned out we hadn't liased/got permission. I'm not talking about a branch randomly falling of a tree. I'm talking about forestry works, shooting,farming etc.
I think in there you probably have your answer, Doug.
It hinges on infrastructure and impact.
"Organised" does not mean that a bunch of people have arranged to meet and go orienteering, it means you had to organise a load of infrastructure to allow the event to happen and that infrastructure might get in someone's way, need someone's facitlities.
Flags in the forest and half a dozen cars don't impact on infrastructure or other people's activities.
Shooting / orienteering do impact on one anther so if you haven't arranged and you turn up and there is shooting, which has been arranged, then you have to go home.
I agree in some respects kitch, but not in terms of infrastructure. The majority of small orienteering events, club training days etc require no more infrastructure than kites in the forest, space to park a few cars and a download unit in someone's car! (could be said for most o events full stop but that's another topic...)IMO it being organised comes down to it being planned by someone, advertised to people etc. Our SEDS training session had the potential to get 100 people if the majority of the email list turned up (unlikely I know). 5 people running about in the forest could hinder land management operations as much as 100 people, depends on the situation. Our kites and cars did end up impacting on other peoples activities/work.
I know that in 95% of cases the correct procedure of liasing with land managers is probably happening, but in the other instances where it doesn't (even if the people turning up think it has!) it gives orienteering a bad name, risks the chance of having future events and puts people in awkward situations unnecessarily.
I don't disagree that as an individual or couple of club mates out for a run, you turn up and either go home or outrun the bullets and bull.
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