Junior Regional

Junior Regional
Orienteering Squads


Generic information about Czechia


The Czechia training camp is based at Potkávárna u Havrana (https://www.potkavarnauhavrana.cz/?lang=en). This is in the Jizera mountains near Liberec in the north of the Czechia. You can walk straight out of the door onto orienteering maps in all directions. It is in the same region as the World Orienteering Championships 2021.


Accommodation is in en-suite hostel style rooms varying between 4 and 9 people per room. The accommodation also provides all catering and any specific dietary needs can be catered for. The accommodation is surrounded by forest and also has two llamas living in an enclosure right outside. Athletes will be expected to assist with minor chores during the camp.


This was a new camp in 2022, initiated to ensure enough camps are still available to juniors after the loss of another British Orienteering junior camp. It should be a bridge between the UK-based camps for younger juniors and the Scandinavian camps for older juniors. It was started by Ben Windsor who has family links with the Czechia and the owners of the accommodation.


There are two major types of terrain nearby. Straight out of the door is the more vague and physically tough mountain terrain as used for the middle distance race in WOC 2021. The second is spectacular “rock city” terrain with huge sandstone rock pillars and mini-mazes between crags, which is less than an hour’s drive and similar to terrain used for the WOC 2021 long race.


The camp is aimed at M/W16s who have achieved the required standard in the nominated selection races (See Czechia Selection criteria). The size of the camp can vary based on how many people meet the selection criteria, but this is expected to be around 16-20 athletes. In support of the camp there is a Tour Manager (TM) who has responsibility for such things as travel, accommodation, food etc. The TM is supported by a Lead Coach. The Lead Coach has a team of around 8 coaches.


Venue: Potkavarna u Havrana, Karlov 360, 468 44 Josefuv Dul, Czechia


Ben Windsor – Camp manager, safeguarding (male)
Helen Ockenden – Joint lead coach, safeguarding (female)
Paul Pružina – Joint lead coach
Phil Vokes – coach
Mairi Eades – coach
Dom Dakin – coach
Joe Sunley – coach
Zuzka Windsor – coach

This was a very “young” coaching team comprised entirely of M/W21s/20s. I did wonder if this would matter or not, but as it turned out I think it worked really well. All of the coaches had fun together whilst also having the physical ability to do tonnes of shadowing of the juniors. There were nominally 4 coaches who had coached on many camps before (Ben, Helen, Paul, Phil) and then the other 4 coaches who were all good orienteers but might have only coached on at a couple of camps at most before. We split the 16 athletes into four coaching groups, each led by a pair of coaches (one more experienced on camps and one less so). This worked well and at the start of the week athletes would generally be shadowed/speak to their own coaches more, but as the week progressed coaches would shadow anybody they spotted, so athletes got to be coached by a variety of people.

At the end of most days we had a quick coaches meeting in the coaches room and shared any concerns/praise we had about the athletes, especially regarding injuries. This was good and ensured that all coaches were aware of what was going on.


















































There were 16 athletes, I would have liked a few more but the selectors didn’t find anybody else suitable. I was a bit disappointed that some NW athletes didn’t come to this camp because of the risk of overtraining by doing this immediately before the NW camp, as it’s a missed opportunity, and as long as the coaches on both camps are fully aware that they are doing two camps back to back, we can keep an eye on any niggles which could develop into injuries or suggest that they keep the training volume down a bit.

This was the first in-person camp that many of them had been on so this was really the first time they were getting to know each other properly in a residential situation. There were no major behavioural issues (well, not that I know of) and generally they were a great group of athletes to work with and I think all of the coaches really enjoyed the week coaching them! Motivation was slightly more varied, generally the boys were all very keen to train, but some of the girls were a bit less motivated in the forest and wanted to walk all the time, or go round in groups. Perhaps next year we need to make it clearer early on that you should be training on your own for the majority of the exercises.


We decided that athletes needed to make their own way to and from Prague airport, where they would be met by coaches. This led to various worried parents and also some nervous athletes as it was the first time many of them had flown on their own. However, my view is that as long as they are on a direct flight from the UK to Prague, nothing serious can really go wrong which would leave them stranded in a foreign country on their own. It might be a bit scary at first, but it’s an experience to fly to a new country on your own and I think that forms part of the whole camp experience. One year later in Stockholm they have to do the same, but also navigate the Stockholm public transport system alone, so this is good preparation!

Some of the Scottish athletes did change flights at Amsterdam – luckily everything went smoothly for them, and at least if there was an issue then they were together.

For airport drop off, parents were also worried that athletes should be accompanied at the airport for as long as possible – i.e. coaches should stay with them for the bag drop queue and only leave them when they go off to security. This is what we had promised the parents so we did our best to honour that, but it was a bit of a headache because you can only park for 15 minutes at the airport drop off, and you can’t return again within 24 hours. Next year, I think we will tell parents from the start that we’ll take the athletes to the bag drop queue and leave them there. Coaches then won’t be far from the airport and can return there if there is a serious issue.

About a month before the camp, some flights were cancelled, including the Saturday evening flight which had 10 athletes on it. The next flight they could change onto without having to pay for an entirely new flight was on Monday morning. Fortunately, most of the coaches were hanging around in Prague until Monday anyway and kindly agreed to keep looking after the athletes until then, and Zuzka managed some last minute booking of student accommodation rooms a 10 minute drive from the airport.

It was noted that officially, under 18s should be carrying a letter explaining where they are staying, who will be responsible for them, and who will be paying for them, for the duration of their trip from the UK to the EU. The athletes who changed in Amsterdam were asked to show this, so it was lucky that the parents had been alert and asked me to write it for them in advance! I didn’t send it to the rest of the athletes though, which next year I will do.

We hired 2x 9-seater vehicles and 2x cars so had a total of 28 seats for 24 people. This allowed for one car to be used for control hangers, and also would have allowed us to fit everybody in the remaining three vehicles if one car was required to take somebody to hospital. The vehicles were hired from RentPlus at the airport. It’s worth booking these WELL in advance to get better prices, even though I booked them as soon as I knew camp was definitely happening, I think it may still have been a little late. All drivers had excess insurance from Questor, which costs about £40/year and is tonnes cheaper than paying the excess waiver to the car hire company. We had four drivers and four vehicles, and had a second named driver on each vehicle for free with RentPlus. Flexibility was still limited though since we could only rotate around vehicles since all of us always needed to be driving. It did allow most coaches to go control hanging though.


This was at Potkavarna u Havrana, which is a “lodge” in the Jizera mountains in the north of the Czech Republic. It’s about 750m above sea level. The reason for this being the base is that Zuzka’s parents own it.

There was mention that we should get a discount because we know them, but it’s not really fair on them to ask for that, because we’re occupying the entire building during the height of summer, which is exactly when they would be at their busiest and would easily fill all their beds with other customers. They were already losing some business by closing the indoor pub/bar area so that we could have exclusive use of it, and therefore they missed out on any trade they would have got from that during the evenings.

The accommodation is split into rooms of 2 or 4, with one 9-bed dormitory. We allocated the 16 athletes to 4x4 person rooms, and then the coaches in 2x2-person and 1x4-person rooms. The 9-person room became the “hang out area” for the athletes and was well used in the evenings! A further 4-person room in the basement because the coaching office, and there was another 4-person room which was empty and we didn’t really have a use for it, so I told the kitchen staff that they could sleep in there (otherwise they’d be on mattresses on the floor of a big room attached to the back of the main building, and since we weren’t using anyway it we might as well offer it).

The rooms aren’t very soundproof which means that it’s easy to tell if athletes are being noisy in the evening. I wanted them to go home from the camp feeling like they’ve had a great time (which will make them love orienteering) but I also wanted them to not be so exhausted during the day that they didn’t feel like training. In the end we settled on the rule that “if the coaches can’t tell that you’re awake then we don’t know you’re awake” – which I think basically meant that some of the girls were often up late whispering to each other – unsure how much this contributed to their reduced enthusiasm about running at training, or if they just weren’t used to the volume of training we were doing anyway. The boys seemed to enjoy their sleep and were normally out straight away (as far as we could tell)!

All of our meals were catered, which cost about £15.50 per person per day. I think this was worth it because we just didn’t have to think about food at all, and the food was also really good. It meant that instead of getting back at 4.30pm after training and helping to prepare dinner, we could spend two hours going swimming and sitting in the sun, or doing some tourism, after training and before dinner. The amount of food was good and I haven’t heard anything about there not being enough food, so I think everyone was satisfied with the quantities.

You could argue that if we stayed in self-catered accommodation, we could bring cooks out with us and they would have food ready for us if we came back later, which I think would save some money and would be possible. But from an organisational point of view, I think it was fantastic being able to use this as accommodation for the camp. It made organising the whole thing so much easier and makes me far more likely to want to do it again. A few things I can think of which just generally made organising easier:

- Did not need to find two chefs from the UK who were willing to give up a week of their time to mass cater for 24 people

- They have all the contacts for maps and permissions in the local areas, so getting maps and permission was quite simple

- They organised for Tomas Krivda to come in a give a talk – currently probably the best orienteer in Czechia and very inspiring for the athletes to meet him

- They building and the grounds are already mapped for orienteering, and the map gets updated regularly

- On the days when it was 30C and it was clear that even with all of our bottles, we would run out of water when we were out all day, I just asked and two 25 litre containers of water appeared for us to bring

- Projector is available there already

- Pens/paper/files/plastic wallets/clipboard I could just take from their office

- We could use their printers whenever we wanted

- They had training kites we could borrow (we did still bring some of our own as well though)

- They are thinking about investing in a set of SI for guest orienteering groups to use, which would be amazing if they have it by next year!

Also, there was a fire pit which we could sit around in the evening and there were guitars which some of the athletes borrowed and played. There was also a sauna+hot tub, which we had on one evening (the hot tub is heated by a wood-burner, and takes at least half a day to warm up, so it can’t be on all the time!).


We used 5 training areas, 3 in the mountains in the area immediately around Potkavarna, and 2 near Mala Skala, sandstone terrain about a 35 minute drive to the south. This required email agreements with the appropriate person from each club. Getting the OCAD files didn’t happen that quickly, but it did happen with a minimal number of emails (there were just quite long gaps between replies). We paid 1 euro per athlete per map. We didn’t need to contact anybody separately for permissions, that was all done by the club (or it’s possible that permission wasn’t required as we were such a small group).


The camp was originally a week long, since that was when the accommodation was available. It ended up being extended at the end due to flight changes, but it actually worked quite well and in hindsight it would have been nice if all of the athletes could have stayed until the Monday. Next year we have accommodation booked Saturday-Sunday (again, that’s the only week that’s available as it is already booked up).

The approximate programme is below, which we roughly stuck to.
See attached image.

The overarching theme of the week was “getting used to new terrain” which I think worked well. The idea is that by this age they all know most of the theory and techniques involved in orienteering, but many of them have never orienteered abroad, so it’s about adjusting what you already know to allow you to navigate in unfamiliar terrain.

Evening sessions:
Sunday: Helen Ockenden, getting used to new terrain – a short talk about what sort of things you think about when going somewhere unfamiliar, and then discussion in coaching groups
Monday: Paul Pruzina, route analysis from today – we had been training on the WOC middle area and courses had been sneakily planned to include many of the legs from the real WOC middle course. Analysed route choices and looked at routes taken by the WOC athletes.
Tuesday: NightO, so no session
Wednesday: Talk from Tomas Krivda was quite a highlight – having a top international orienteer come and talk, and then come training with us the next morning, was great motivation for the athletes.
Thursday: Ben Windsor, physical training, S+C – talk about the annual training cycle/periodisation, followed by a bit about the importance of doing S+C training, and a mini 15 minute circuits session to demonstrate some exercises which you might do. I think the periodisation talk was boring and unnecessary, those who are serious enough to want to do that already know it, and those who want to know it can ask individually if we mention it. I think next year I’d rather call this talk “Injury prevention” and talk about the importance of training sensibly, how to recognise when you’re doing too much, and then a similar S+C demo session.
Friday: “10 things Tomas taught me”, Phil Vokes. Phil decided that Tomas had made various points but that they hadn’t necessarily sunk in with the athletes, so he made a fun talk highlighting this Tomas had said on Wednesday. One of the main things was that actually, the top runners don’t have any secret key to navigation, they do exactly what the athletes on this camp already knew – but they do it with discipline and do it consistently on every control. This was followed by some route analysis in coaching groups of the race from today.


We went to Liberec Aquapark on Wednesday afternoon which was great, we should do it again. We went swimming in the pond a 5 minute walk from Potkavarna, and the river in Mala Skala (twice). The lake in Jablonec has a floating platform about 100m from the shore which you can swim out to. For some of the athletes this seemed to be close to the edge of their swimming capabilities, but they swam anyway because they wanted to go with their friends. Next year we should make sure to talk to the athletes before going there and make sure that they only swim out if they’re really confident in their ability to do so.


Fortunately we never had to visit a hospital but there were at least three mildly twisted ankles. The mountain terrain there is extremely rocky and uneven, and we should have emphasised more to athletes who have tweaked their ankles in the past that it might be a good idea to tape them, even if they would consider themselves 100% injury-free at the moment.

We thought there would be a good first aid kit at Potkavarna which we could take into the forest, so I hastily bought the largest one I could find in Decathlon. This was quite good for general scrapes and cuts, but not really tailored to orienteering so we need to be more organised with this next year. A good supply of ankle tape, and ice packs (the ones which you snap and they go cold) would be useful. It seems that they don’t sell this kind of ice pack in Czechia so needs bringing from the UK.

Camp Reports

We tried to follow the Deeside way of doing Camp Reports, where you write notes about athletes down and then after the week finishes, compile them into a report to send to the athlete. I’m not sure this worked that well, it didn’t feel like the notes we ended up with would form reports which were especially beneficial to the athletes.

I was thinking that next year, we could do a session on the last evening where effectively the athletes write their own bullet pointed “camp report” with the help of the coaches, thinking about what their strengths and weaknesses are and what they’d like to focus on improving over the next year – a bit like goal setting but perhaps less formal than that. During the week the athletes get a good idea of what they need to work on from being shadowed and talking through with coaches, so they themselves know what they have learned that week more than any individual coach does.


Here are provisional figures based on largely accurate numbers, some coach expenses are still to be confirmed precisely. The “spare budget” row represents the fact that I asked parents for £550 even though the initial budget came out at £531, because budgets always run over by a bit, so I rounded up (not quite enough though!).




Budget exceeded by













































Spare budget












In general the budget was surprisingly accurate. Overall, it comes out at a base cost of around £565 per athlete, which is £15 over the initial payment, which I don’t think will come as a surprise to any of the parents since they were expecting to be asked for a small final payment after the camp anyway.

On top of this base cost, there is also:

- Camp tops were £11 for a printed technical tee, which all athletes bought.

- About £50 for each extra day for those who had to fly home on Sunday or Monday (this included accommodation, food, and transport to the additional race we did, and in and out of Prague city centre).

- The odd small cash expenses on a per-athlete basis, e.g. where a coach had bought them food at a race because they had no cash at the time

So the athletes who stayed the extra two nights will be paying around £680 total, after JROS subsidy. If you add flights, transport to/from the airport on the UK end, travel insurance, and TBE vaccinations (which some athletes had) the total cost to parents for 9 nights away getting closer to £1000. The general feedback on the cost of the camp was that it was happy to pay it and it was worth it for the experience the juniors got – there were some comments saying “it’s a bit more expensive than other camps, but worth it” and nobody directly said that this was too high and it something should be done to bring the cost down.


I asked athletes/parents to fill in a feedback form afterwards, to which almost all of them responded. A summary of the feedback is below (there were a few other points to think about for next year, but these have already been mentioned elsewhere in the report).


Food and accommodation were great. Burritos were especially a hit.

Coaches need to hang the controls correctly/a second coach needs to check the hanging for coaches who are less familiar with this terrain.

Sandstone was preferred over mountain terrain. This was expected, but it’s good to learn to get familiar with the mountain terrain so I don’t think we’re going to skip it next time.

Friendship relay afternoon session good on the first day.

Moving controls afternoon session was novel and memorable.

Getting a top elite to come and talk was a big hit

The non-orienteering activities were good, and there was the right amount of free time

Athletes liked that the coaching team was relatively young and also liked having fun themselves

Almost everybody felt the cost was acceptable

Getting flights on the right day from a convenient airport is difficult. I’m not sure much can be done about this. I did put all parents in contact with each other before the camp, and they could have coordinated more for athletes to stay with each other close to airports which are convenient. Maybe I’ll try to encourage this more next time.

Proper O tops instead of technical tees would be preferred as camp tops.

Opinion is split roughly half and half as to whether it would have been good to share accommodation with a Czech squad and make some international friends. Parents generally seem ok with the last of Czech DBS checks as long as we consider and manage the risk to avoid them being in a 1:1 situation.


As camp manager, I want to thank a few people (there are more that I have missed off I expect)

- All the coaches for giving up a week of their time, being super enthusiastic, doing tonnes of shadowing, and hopefully having lots of fun whilst also making a group of 16 year olds better at orienteering.

- Zuzka for co-organising a few of the things on the Czech end, mainly the Prague accommodation at short notice when flights got cancelled. Also for having a Czech bank account which made many transactions simpler.

- All the staff at Potkavarna (mainly Pavel) for being super accommodating to our last minute changes of plan for when we would eat meals, conjuring up equipment we were looking for almost out of thin air, and for organising for Tomas Krivda to come and talk with us.

- The JROS committee for their guidance in the months running up to the camp as it’s the first one I’ve organised, especially from Iain Embrey who talked to me on the phone a few times and efficiently replied to many emails with questions I had.

Next year

I enjoyed this year and would be happy to do a similar format again in 2023. I have booked Potkavarna from 12-20 August 2023 (Saturday-Sunday). These are again the only dates available as it is booked up for the rest of the summer. I am not sure if this coincides with the “nice holidays” races again. It would be great if it does, but if not hopefully we can find some other races within driving distance for the final weekend.

Ben Windsor
Camp Manager

Selection Policy


James Hammond FVO
Sam Hunt FVO
Angus Laird INVOC
Freddie Lake SBOC
Reuben Lawson NGOC
Oliver Prince SOS
Ruben Razzetti BL
Conrad Reuber SYO

Sarah Darley GO
Jocie Hilton SN
Ciara Keen SYO
Cate Matthew SROC
Maggie Soulsby HH
Rose Taylor NGOC
Jessica Ward NGOC
Amelia Wing BKO


The camp will run from Saturday 13th August – Saturday 20th August.


The camp is for M/W16’s born in 2006.


The camp will be for around 16 athletes, the final number being determined by the Selectors and the Team Manager.


Athletes wishing to be selected will have achieved the standard set out below in the following races;

British Long Distance Champs 2022 (26th March)

Northern Championships Weekend middle distance 2022 (2nd April)

Northern Championships 2022 (3rd April)

JK Day 2 2022 (16th April)

JK Day 3 2022 (17th April)

Standard for selection

The best three results will be considered from the selection races. It is expected that a good silver standard average will be achieved.

The camp selectors

The camp athletes will be selected by Susan Marsden (Chair), Pauline Olivant and Sue Roome.

Illness or injury

All cases of illness or injury which may affect an athlete’s ability to compete in one or more of the above selection races should be notified in writing to the athletes Regional Squad coordinator prior to the running of that race, clearly explaining the reasons for their failure to compete. The Regional Squad Coordinator will make the Selectors aware of such notifications.