JROS held its annual coaching camps for M/W16s at Hawkshead Youth Hostel in the Lake District. This year saw 78 juniors and 42 coaches taking part in sessions organised on Holme Fell, Dale Park and Bishop Woods, report below.
Generic information about Hawkshead
In 1988 British Orienteering first organised a training weekend for M/W16’s based at Lakeside on the shores of Lake Windermere.
Similar weekends had been organised at various locations, usually based on Youth Hostels, in late autumn but Lakeside was the ‘home’ of this training camp until 2010.
In that year British Orienteering decided it was not able to organise such a weekend and so the Junior Regional Squads stepped in to take over its running.
Because of the cost of the Lakeside venue, the weekend was moved, not very far away, to Hawkshead YHA.
Hawkshead has been the host of the weekend since then.
The junior regional squads book the entire youth hostel for that weekend with the hostel providing meals from Saturday morning until Sunday lunchtime.
Since the entire hostel is booked use is made of all the dormitories as well as lounges and a number of class rooms, which are used for evening talks and briefings.
Arrangements are made in advance, through the Lake District liaison officer, for the use of 4 or 5 areas for training in the Southern Lake District.
Before the weekend exercises are planned and kites are hung and the Squads attending the weekend can then decide how best to use these areas and exercises for the benefit of those juniors attending the camp.
The camp is aimed at M/W16’s from all the regional squads with the only limit on numbers being the availability of beds in the hostel.
All squads take responsibility for their attendees, not only with regard to training but also their travel and safety.
On Saturday evening Nick Lightfoot gave a presentation and workshop based on his recent work with individual Talent Squad athletes looking at Orienteering Racing; Principles and Training Ideas, which provided food for thought for both athletes and coaches.
An opportunity to race was provided at the night time ultra-sprint relay around the hostel grounds. The brain child of Iain Embrey and Nev Myers the relay has become a traditional element of the weekend. This year saw a record number of 35 teams of three compete on gaffled courses with butterfly loops over a 1.5k leg, finding up to 31 controls. Normal rules over distance between controls are suspended and the lesson of the night for many is to check control codes and descriptions. View/download a copy of the relay map as a PDF
The mass start is always a spectacle as runners spread across the front lawn and headlights can be seen bobbing backwards and forwards as competitors move from one butterfly loop to the next. This year Steve Kimberley captured a flavour of the event with his photograph looking across the lawn. If you look closely you may see some ghostly figures who stood still a little too long.
The first to finish in a time of 28mins 26secs was Tropic Thunder, a team of West Midlands coaches which contained Matt Elkington who had the fastest overall leg time of 8mins 20secs. A team from the South East comprising of Matthew Leitch, Sam Fielding and Jack Leitch were the first junior team back in a time of 32mins and 10 seconds. Red Leicester (EMOA) and the Flatlanders (EAOA) took second and third places.
In the girls relay care overcame speed and the winners were WayAyePet, a mixed team from the NE and YHOA, comprising of Saskia Warren, Rebecca Aspin and Sarah Pedley in a time 50mins 3secs, followed closely in second by the Spinnies, an Irish team comprising of Eadaoin McCavana, Sophie Pruzina and Maebh Perkins.
Overall the weekend had a great atmosphere where the juniors were having fun socialising with their peers but taking the training opportunities seriously at the same time.
Our thanks for the weekend must go to:
Nigel Benham from BML printing for providing the maps, Richard Tiley for obtaining all the permissions, Mel and her team at the Youth Hostel who were as efficient as ever getting everyone fed and Nick Lightfoot for his thought provoking presentation.
Pre camp info
It is now time to confirm details for the M/W 16s Hawkshead weekend. There are 108 places in total and we will need 9 for the forest teams. That works out at 8 to 9 places per region. It is anticipated that not all regions will take up all their places so add extra athletes to your standby list on the application form. I will allocate places once I have replies from all regions.
As last year the plan is to have training in 2 or 3 areas and include an ultra-sprint night relay around the Hostel. I have asked Richard Tiley to seek permissions for Holme Fell, Summerhouse Knotts and either Dale Park, or Bishop Woods.
As before I will aim to provide pre-marked maps with courses and control descriptions printed on waterproof paper for all juniors. Each coach/adult will have an all controls maps of each area. Exercises will be planned but it will be up to Regional coaches to decide how they would like to use the controls and areas with their groups. Let me know if your requirements are different or there is a specific exercise you would like planning.
Meals and packed lunches will be as previous years: Saturday Breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal; Sunday breakfast and packed lunch. It has also been agreed that if needed, arrangements can be made for showering on Sunday before you head for home.
Saturday evening I am looking for a speaker and/or workshop ideas so if you can offer any activity let me know.
If you have any suitable older athletes who would like to be involved in the forest teams let me know so that I can send them invitations.
Cost will be held at last year’s rate of £75 per athlete and coach.
Please return the form soonest as this will help with allocating spare places so that regions can confirm arrangements with their athletes.