Aspiring to the Scottish Junior Orienteering Squad (Scotjos) – read about their first training camp of the season

Last weekend ScotJOS gathered in Aberfoyle for their first camp of the 2022/23 session. Despite the
rain of last week, the weather brightened and the juniors enjoyed some very technical training.

Jon Musgrave coaching in amongst the heather Photo Credit: Alan Bennett

We gathered in Aberfoyle on Friday evening in time for Night Orienteering at South Achray with a
choice of long and short courses. It was very wet underfoot and the juniors were glad the hall had
hot showers to remove the worst of the mud!

On Saturday we ventured to the Trossachs to sample the technical delights offered by this
notoriously difficult area. The deep heather slowed everyone and Anastasiia from Ukraine who
joined us for the training commented that she had never seen ground cover quite like it! Adding the
bogs, bracken and steep slopes resulted in some energy sapping courses. There were a range
exercises available including contouring, direction, pairs relocation, line courses and a course
focussing on route choice – “up and over or round?” We finished the training with a pairs 2 nd leg
relay practice – with pairs starting at random intervals.

The heather depth made it hard work for the younger legs Photo Credit: Alan Bennett
Even longer legs found the heather hard work Photo Credit: Alan Bennett

The weather at least stayed dry – with a very weak sunshine, but it was bitterly cold for everyone
and provided a useful lesson for everyone on the importance of layers and bringing lots of warm
clothing to wear in between exercises.

We then had time to go and investigate the dam at Loch Katrine as we couldn’t return directly to the
hall (we had to wait for a child’s birthday party in the hall to finish – we didn’t want lots of
muddy orienteers terrifying the 6 year olds or climbing on the bouncy castle!). The water level was impressive and the overflow down the fish ladder was quite spectacular.

After food and some exercises on control descriptions it was then down to the serious part of the
evening – Irish Snap. If you’ve never come across Irish Snap – it’s a card game with some strange
rules which often results in sore knuckles (and heads!). We also had demonstrations of sword
dancing, as some toy swords were found in the hall and sword dancing was safer than sword

On Sunday we headed to Fairy Knowe and Doon Hill – and luckily the weather forecast was correct
and the rain that we had heard all night was stopping in time for us starting training. There were a
variety of short loops each exploring different parts of the area. We then finished with mass start
relay practice, with 3 groups starting on short, medium and long.

One of the relay mass starts Photo Credit: Alan Bennett
Another relay mass start Photo Credit: Alan Bennett

Many thanks to everyone who helped make the weekend possible – planning, hanging controls,
catering, driving, coaching – we really appreciate it and couldn’t do it without you all.

Thanks to Alan Bennett for the amazing photos.

Report by Judith Bell