A revised version of the General Rules has now been posted on the SOTA website at http://www.sota.org.uk/docs/SOTA%20General%20Rules%20-%201.14.pdf
Here is a brief explanation of the changes.
Rule 3.1 has been re-worded to bring into line with Rule 3.5 which was itself changed in 2008 to remove the vague “in the immediate vicinity of” from the prohibition of operation from a motor vehicle.
There is an addition to Rule 3.5 that defines the way new survey results for summits are handled. It explains when the summit retains its reference number, and when a new one will be allocated. It also confirms that deleted summit references will not be re-allocated. This merely formalises current practice.
Rule 3.7.1 clause 3 has been simplified. It now states that the final ascent must be non-motorised rather than “person powered”. As well as being better grammatically, it potentially allows a wider selection of non-intrusive, environmentally friendly, methods of access. As SOTA expands into more remote areas, the option of using horses, dogs, camels or elephants as part of the team will become more attractive. The prohibition on motorised access still precludes the use of 4x4s, snowmobiles, chairlifts or helicopters for the final climb.
Rule 3.7.1 clause 13 has had several recent amendments in an attempt to make its intention clear. It was intended to prevent the easy acquisition of “double” points for a single activation of a summit shared between two Associations, as this was deemed unfair. However, the rule has become overly complicated, and there have been several inadvertent breaches over the years. Realistically, the only way to ensure that nobody benefits from such a rule breach would be to program the database software to prevent it. It has been decided that such a change, together with the need to create and maintain an accurate list of shared summits, would create too much of a burden on the MT for what is a fairly infrequent occurrence. The rule has therefore been simplified to allow a shared summit to be activated form more than one Association in a single visit, subject to one simple rule that defines Operating Position.
Rule 3.9 clause 3, which defines the rules for short wave listeners, has been amended to bring it into line with the rules for licensed chasers. This merely formalises current practice.
SOTA Management Team