British Team Training Camp


British Team Training Camp, Speyside 25-2 March

It’s not as glamorous as Madrid, not as warm as Portugal and not as far-flung as South Africa, but Speyside provided a superb winter training venue for the British team, who spent the final week of February in the Scottish Highlands on an intensive technique camp. While most other national teams headed for the kinder climate of Southern Europe, the GB squad based themselves at the Slochd Centre near Carrbridge, which provided warm and cosy respite from the wet and wild weather conditions. The occasional flurries of rain, sleet, hail and snow could not detract from the main purpose of the camp: some old-school technical training on some of the best terrain that Britain has to offer.

The week kicked off with night training at Docharn—a heathery and technically demanding exercise that set the tone for the rest of the week. There is a minimum level of effort and focus that is required to train in Scottish forests that neither allows for lapses in concentration nor offers any respite. Most of us learnt the hard way on this first session that a disciplined approach to orienteering and running would be necessary to make it through the rest of the week.

Subsequent sessions included a sprint prologue and final in Grant Park, Forres, a control pick on Lossie, trains on Deisher, contour only on Inshriach, pairs training on Roseisle, and a tough downhill course on Craigellachie. The highlight of the week for me was a 19km long course that liked up several areas around Grantown including Anagach and Tomviach for a gaffled mass start epic.

Evenings were spent refuelling and recovering with theory sessions and a talk from the new BOF participation manager Steve Vernon, who gave us an insight into the training regime that has seen him achieve great success on the cross country and hill running circuit. Armed with new technology in the shape of GPS tracking and a digital data projector we also spent time analysing the day’s training.

At the weekend the senior team was joined by the junior squad who enjoyed a couple of days of great training. We were joined also by several members of the development group and EUOC who brought a minibus-full of athletes up to make the most of the training opportunities.

Thanks to all the staff who worked hard to make sure the week went smoothly. Dave Peel had prepared some top quality training, Bilbo and Jon M provided some great coaching advice, the physio Liba helped to patch us up through the week and Clare Allison did a great job in satisfying the enormous appetites of a large group of hungry athletes. It was a tough week of full-on orienteering and should provide a good platform for the early part of the season. Above all it’s good to be reminded that you don’t have to travel far to find world class terrain – there is plenty of it right on our doorstep in the Scottish Highlands.

Words : Oli Johnson Photos : Graham Gristwood. Our thanks to them both.


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