November Training Weekend Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rob Kelly   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 15:14

This wasn’t looking promising. It was Friday afternoon, a few hours before 30 or so EUOC members were due to meet to begin the 4 hour drive to the Lake District, and I was sat at my computer looking at the weekend’s weather forecast. Staring back at me were those little dark clouds with several rain drops underneath, severe weather warnings and headlines telling me of the “torrential” rain that was about to bring the worst floods for years to western parts of the UK. And I was about to travel to the wettest place in Britain. I decided it was probably a wise decision to pack a waterproof.

Later that evening I was sat on one of the two minibuses headed to Rookhow, a bunkhouse in the southern Lake District that was to be our base for the weekend. Apart from one of the buses suffering from some slight navigational issues (something you would have thought could have been avoided with 15 orienteers on board) we arrived safe and sound and got settled down ready for a hard couple of days training.

The plan for Saturday was to do two training sessions on some of the best terrain the UK has to offer. We were lucky enough to be able to join in with a training camp organised by the regional junior squads so a big thank you goes to the organising team of that who provided us with maps and the control hanging teams who let us get on with some quality training. The morning’s area, Bishop Wood, was a classic Lake District deciduous woodland with some low visibility pine forest at one end that provided a different navigational challenge. Fresh legs meant enthusiasm was high and everyone was soon out enjoying the remarkably dry (although admittedly rather cold) day, honing their technique for the coming season. After lunch we hopped back into the buses for a quick drive to a different area, Summer House Knott. Thanks to some efficient organisation by Alice we divided up into pairs and kicked off the session with a star relay to give us some head to head race practice. Immediately it was obvious that this afternoon would pose different challenges, mainly that the terrain was physically much tougher. Steep slopes, lots of rocks and felled trees meant you really had to work hard.

Conversation round the dinner table that night focused on the training and, after Jack and Simon’s last minute mince dash, which club member would be best to eat. It’s probably best a definitive conclusion wasn’t reached. The evening’s entertainment was comprised of what seemed like a pretty lengthy Cranium session and a form of pictorial Chinese whispers that revealed exactly how certain people’s brains worked. The less said about this here the better!

Sunday morning saw more than a few tired looking faces munching on some fine Haines-made porridge. We were due to be racing on an area called Greta Gorge, a steep wooded area on the side of Latrigg near Keswick. On the whole journey there I was keeping an eye out for the weather front that would bring this torrential rain that had long been forecast but I couldn’t see anything. Could we really get so lucky as to not get rained on for a whole weekend in the Lakes when other parts of the country were experience devastating floods? There had been rain overnight however that had made conditions tough, with some of the steeper slopes turning into potential mud slides. Never the less there were some fine performances from the EUOC contingent to wrap up the weekend including 2nd and 3rd on the 5km blue course from Lauren Eyre and Bryony Harding respectively. The longest course saw EUOC alumni Hector Haines prevail over the 6.7km distance with Simon Gardner, another alumni member, achieving 3rd place. All that was left was to pile back into the buses and begin the long journey home. I think everyone would agree the weekend was a great success and went off without any major hitches. A big thanks to Vice Captain Jack Baker for organising everything and also to mother nature for being so kind to us, we may not get so lucky next year!

A full album of photos can be found on flickr here.