Coronavirus – Postponment Of Forthcoming Courses And Trips – 21st March 2020

by Paul Kirtley

Coronavirus graphics

A week is a long time under the current circumstances. We have been following coronavirus developments in the UK and abroad closely.

This week the UK government has sent a strong, and repeated, message about the importance of social distancing and stopping all unnecessary travel during the coronavirus epidemic. Schools have been closed and exams cancelled by the government. The measures taken this week culminated in the authorities telling pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, spas and leisure centres to close immediately.

In the UK we have continued shortages of food in the shops. Most supermarkets have imposed rationing on foodstuffs as well as hand soap, sanitisers and toilet roll.

Under these circumstances we now must postpone some of our forthcoming courses and trips.

We have previously stated that we felt the gathering of a small number of people outside, in the open air, relatively isolated from others, was a relatively low-risk scenario. We still believe this to be true.

Low risk, however, is not the same as no risk. And the relative risk has changed due to the risk reduction measures taking place throughout society. We feel it is appropriate for Frontier Bushcraft now to take action to do our part to mitigate the remaining risks.

This is not our only consideration at the present time, though.

The continued intermittent and unpredictable availability of many foodstuffs and household items is also a problem to us. Most of our courses are catered. We purchase significant quantities of food from local supermarkets on a weekly basis. We cannot currently source sufficient food and materials from supermarkets to stock our camps with food and hygiene items. Even if the food is available in stores, we are not currently allowed to purchase enough food to feed 12-16 people for a couple of days, never mind a week.

With the closure of schools and nurseries, some of our team now have children at home to look after, and their usual reliance on grandparents for childcare is not available due to the risks of transmission.

Further, it remains unclear how long travel restrictions that are in place will be maintained. Our overseas customers cannot get to our UK courses or, if they can, they can’t necessarily get home. And currently we cannot travel to our overseas trip destinations.

We are immediately ceasing all field teaching until further notice. Specifically for reasons of Force Majeure, as detailed in our Terms and Conditions of Booking, we are postponing all UK and non-UK courses and trips in April, May and June of this year, up to and including the Porcupine River canoe trip.

As for the courses and trips that are scheduled to run in July, August, September and October, we currently plan to run these, based on the current UK government timelines for coronavirus. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation and update our position as appropriate.

To be specific, the following courses, trips and training will NOT take place on their original dates:

  • Navigation 101, 3-5 April
  • Volunteer Induction, 10-11 April
  • Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft, 12-18 April
  • Woodcrafter, 19-25 April
  • Tracking and Nature Awareness, 26 April - 2 May
  • Mock Student Day, 3 May
  • Bushcraft Essentials, 9-10 May
  • Expedition Canoeing Skills, 10-15 May
  • Expedition Canoeing Skills, 17-22 May
  • Private 1-day course, 6 June
  • Outdoor Emergency Preparedness, 8-14 June
  • Porcupine River Expedition, 28 June - 12 July

As we have very little capacity to run additional dates for the above-mentioned programmes in 2020, most of these will be moved to 2021. We are currently working on adding additional course capacity for 2021, maximising the choice of alternative dates.

We will be writing to each participant on the above-mentioned programmes, detailing the way forward.

Our aim throughout this is to look after our team and our customers, both in terms of their health and their course fees, with the intention of ultimately delivering the course or trip booked, to the high standards we are known for.

It should be clear to anyone reading this update that the current coronavirus crisis, and the actions we are being forced to undertake during this period, are going to put a great deal of financial strain on our business, well into 2021. By fully shutting down our field operations for at least the next 4 months, we can conserve our resources, putting us in the best position for coming out of hibernation again at the appropriate time.

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Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Howe

I assume you’ll be offering a full refund as an alternative to a date/year change ?

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your question. Our Terms and Conditions of Booking cover Force Majeure events including, explicitly, an epidemic. Hence, will be operating under these terms.

Today I am writing to everyone who is booked onto a course or trip that has to be postponed, explaining the way forward.

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

Stephen Lowe

Thanks for the update. It doesn’t seem like you have much choice at this point.

I hope Frontier Bushcraft doesn’t take too much of a hit and is back on it’s feet soon. Best wishes to all the staff and families. As the youngsters say #StaySafe

Fingers crossed for August!

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Stephen,

No, we don’t have any choice at this stage. But we wanted to get ahead of things and we have been actively arranging more dates later in the year and next year to accommodate people whose courses have been postponed.

We’ll do our best to survive this. At least we have the correct mentality – it’s what we teach on our courses 😉

Hope to see you in August.

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

Steve Bowker

Hey Paul,

It’s a tough time for you guys.

Happy to support you through it through it….so just about to login and subscribe to both your online courses as Claire raves about how good they are.

1) Elementary Bushcraft Course – I fancy going back to the theory I’ve picked up on all the expeditions and field courses with this refresher

2) Tree & Plant ID Masterclass – that’s one of those courses that you can’t get too much of….will you allow people to join part way through the course this year as a special for Coronavirus reasons?

Do you have any plans for extra courses or online interactive training sessions using Zoom that people can join from their gardens or retreats in the woods?

KEEP SAFE and good luck with your business!

Steve.

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Steve,

It’s good to hear from you and thanks for your support.

1/ You’ll definitely add a layer or two from this course, even if you’ve done the Elementary course in the field. Great value, even if I do say so myself 😉

2/ I’m currently looking at re-opening the T&P course due to the current situation. We’re only on Module 3 currently and with all the time at home for many people, there’ll be no difficulty in catching up.

As for other courses, it’s pretty difficult to do any filming at the moment but in terms of other online training sessions, I am going to be hosting some webinars. Make sure you are on my blog email subscription list to get the details of these. http://paulkirtley.co.uk/free-tips-and-advice/

Keep safe too my friend.

All the best,

Paul

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