The Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS) has confirmed that they have cancelled their Dart10k, Bantham Swoosh and Hurly Burly events for 2021 due to uncertainty around coronavirus.
Kate Rew, creative director of the society and director of the events business, expressed regret at the decision: “All our swims were fully booked for 2021, but we could not continue to operate in the uncertainty around coronavirus. It's brilliant news about the vaccine, and we hope all the best projections come to pass in terms of getting back to normal, but operationally events have no idea what rules they will be working within to make themselves Covid-safe next year, and therefore no way of planning for them or costing them.”
OSS events are held in remote communities with coach travel, with entries dependent on the tide, so face complications that other events might not. “It's a very high-risk picture for events like ours,” says Kate.
The decision to cancel and refund ticket money was taken in November as it was the last point in time before the significant incremental irretrievable costs would be incurred if local or national government cancelled events, as happened to two OSS events in 2020.
Despite this setback, Kate is looking forward to returning in full force. “[We] look forward to coming back in 2022 or 2023 when things are predictable. They say the best yield follows a fallow year - we are hoping the return will be spectacular,” says Kate. “It's not just the swims that make OSS events so popular, it's the people - the sharing, coming together and hugging. We are looking forward to a return to that.”
No events in 2020 and 2021 means that the OSS has had to change tack. “[The OSS] is free to join, and run by volunteers, but does have real world bills to pay,” says Kate. “These are usually covered by event income, but having lost this in 2020 and 2021 the society is now looking at other ways to keep going – starting, with an OSS Christmas Cracker Raffle.” Prizes include a SwimTrek holiday, an Orca winter wetsuit, a Finisterre jumper and an Alpkit jacket. “'There's a 1 in 100 chance of winning something,” says Kate.
See https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-oss-christmas-raffle-2020 to buy tickets.