ScotJOS November Training Camp

This weekend the Scottish Junior Orienteering Squad headed west to Taynuilt for their first camp of the 2021/22 season. The new juniors to the squad had quite an introduction to ScotJOS camps thanks to the great Scottish weather….

We arrived on Friday night at Airds Park for Night-O and set off just as the rain started and as the fireworks display at Taynuilt lit up the sky. The rain continued as we revisited Airds Park in the daylight on Saturday morning, and then the wind decided to join in the fun too. The theme for the weekend was all about planning – plan for each leg; picture the control; decide the route and the techniques you need. Despite the rain and marshes, the juniors really appreciated the area – and some even came back smiling!

We then retreated to the hall to appreciate the hottest showers ever in the Taynuilt Sports Pavilion and lots of hot soup. The weather even threatened to improve as we set off for the northern part of Glen Nant. We huddled in a re-entrant just below the exposed start kite as the wind continued with heavy showers (an improvement from the constant rain of the morning). The smiles were even bigger on return from the exercises as most loved the orienteering area.

After a hearty meal, thanks to Susannah and Clare, there was a lively discussion about top tips for orienteering and on using local events for training. Then it was back to some serious table tennis training – who knew that so many people could play table tennis at one time with just 6 bats and 1 table (just watch out for low flying bats!)
On Sunday we visited Creag Mhic Chailein with training loops in both the wooded area and the open land. The start for the exercises was on the open area – with fantastic views of Loch Etive (between the showers) and also provided a great location for terrain visualisation as you could look out from above – and we could try to spot the juniors on the terrain.

The weekend finished with a fun “dynamic” relay. Everyone was allocated to a leg – 1st leg medium, 2nd leg short and 3rd leg long, but no-one knew who was in their team until they returned from their leg! A handicap system was used and the 2nd leg runners were lined up ready to set off in order with fastest last, and the same for the 3rd leg runners. This created some fantastic head to head running on each leg and our viewpoint made this exciting for the spectators as we could spot them for a significant portion of their course. By the end no-one was sure who had been in whose team but thoroughly enjoyed it (despite the uphill run-in). There was even the added excitement of spotting a white tailed eagle as we waited for the 2nd leg runners to appear out the woods.

Thanks to ECKO who extended a warm welcome and allowed us to train on some fantastic areas and huge thanks to Ross Lilley and Jan Kersel, who planned the exercises, hung the controls, helped with the coaching – and even arranged our accommodation (complete with the best showers ever).

Thanks also to Roger, Paul, James, Lorna, Sally and Clare for all your help with the coaching, and Susannah and Clare for the catering.

But thanks really have to go to the juniors who were fantastic – we sent them out in some horrendous weather and they still came back smiling, and appreciating the orienteering and the areas. It is so rewarding for volunteers to see this motivation and enthusiasm from you all. Well Done!

Credit – Lorna Eades

Report by Judy Bell and Jon Musgrave