ScotJos January Camp

A January training camp in Perthshire seemed like a great idea, but this turned into a camp of many plans…..

Photo Credit: Fiona Eades

Plan 1

It all seemed simple back in September when we were planning the camps – Perthshire – wonderful areas, central for most people, hall we’d used before and showers available nearby. What could go wrong?  Omicron!!

Plan 2

No overnight accommodation or minibuses but we still planned for 2 days of training – Craig a Barns and Grandtully (thanks to ESOC and STAG for allowing us to use these areas).  Juniors would be reliant on parents to bring them but could come for either or both days. All going well…

Plan 3

Even better – two weeks before camp and the Scottish Government announced that Covid regulations would be lifted before the camp – we could stay at the hall (and hopefully reduce the amount of travel for everyone). The hall we had originally booked were very accommodating and we were now able to offer overnight accommodation on the Saturday, and showers were booked at the adjacent camp site. Many juniors still had prelims (their 1st exams in a very long time/ever) so some still decided to just come for a day.

The day before – shopping done, food bought, soup, chilli and puddings made – everything was going to plan, but then Storm Malik decided to gate-crash the proceedings …

Plan 4

After much consultation of weather forecasts and discussions with SOA, it was decided that it was not safe to go ahead with the Saturday training at Craig a Barns as planned.  With the storm looking to ease by early afternoon, we decided to meet at Craig a Barns at 2pm, do a risk assessment and if all was safe have a run.  The only advantage was a long lie for many.

We gathered at Dunkeld on Saturday afternoon in lovely sunshine and with the wind dropping. It was too late to do the training, but the juniors all split into groups and headed off for runs through the area. All came back with tales of lovely runs – caves, beech forests, views and  a mix of different routes to be compared – the longest being a whopping 18.5km with 500m of climb!   Fiona Eades stopped to take some fantastic photos which illustrate the calm after the storm and show the beauty of the area. We are all very keen to return to Craig a Barns soon to get to undertake the training Roger Goddard had planned for us.

After the storm. Photo credit: Fiona Eades

After a night in the hall, and the normal running drills we met at Grandtully  on Sunday morning for training planned by Alastair Duguid. He had hung the controls whilst we were at Craig a Barns and reported very little storm damage there which was great.  The weather was lovely and calm (but cold) and the next storm wasn’t forecast to arrive until 5pm!

We had a great team of coaches join us for the day – thanks to them all for helping.  The exercises allowed the juniors to develop further their skills in planning legs and use of compass and contouring, with much discussion about one control in particular  which seemed to catch out many (coaches too!).  The day finished with 1st leg relay practise with mass starts. There was some serious competition and great racing, especially on the long course where the juniors just managed to beat the coaches! 

Thanks to everyone who helped make the weekend happen.  We are hoping that our next camp in March won’t have quite so many challenges. Fingers crossed!

Article written, with thanks, by Judy Bell

We hope to be back at Craig a Barns soon!
Photo Credit Fiona Eades