Regional Squads training weekend at Lakeside

I have been able to attend Lakeside three times, and this unfortunately was to be my last time. It is a national training weekend open to all 16s also giving competent second year 14s a chance to train for the weekend.

Early on a Friday afternoon in late November, the East Anglian Junior Squad of 6 (Jo West, Nina Tant, Mark Chalkley, Simon Gardner, Ed Louth and myself) embarked on the seven hour journey up to the heart of the Lake District to Lakeside YMCA that would be the 'base camp' for a weekend's training in some of the world's finest orienteering terrain. After a late arrival, the squad was glad to hear that they had been given inside accommodation, rather than the much colder isolated huts!

Early the next morning, the organisers of the weekend introduced themselves and then the squads were free to split and discuss the day's training program. After copying the maps up, the squad drove several kilometres down the road to High Dam, an area previously used for World Cup races. A long uphill walk to the start awaited us and after a short warm up and stretch, we were ready to start the training.

The undulating, lightly wooded yet marshy terrain proved to be quite runnable, making the first control picking exercise fast and enjoyable. Soon after, we paired up and completed a visualisation exercise, where one person memorised their way to the first control, and then on the way, their partner memorised the next control's route. Close shadowing from the coaches proved helpful, as we were given handy tips throughout. After a well earned lunch break and short relocation exercise as well as another control pick, we made our way back to Lakeside where a surprise was waiting for us.

Each member of the squad then competed in a sprint race around the small grounds of Lakeside. This 2km sprint encouraged a combination of speed, concentration and the integration of skills practised earlier at High Dam. The competitive nature of the EAJS meant that the stakes were high and Simon Gardner finished in 14:48 beating me, with a time of 15:50 followed by Mark Chalkley in 16:20 who took third place. This sprint race was a great ending for the day, enabling the orienteer to reflect on the techniques learnt as well as getting good views of Lake Windermere while zigzagging across the area to controls feet from the water!

After a presentation from the GB Squad member, Helen Palmer, detailing the interesting and very different intensity of orienteering in Scandinavia, we were free to relax throughout the evening and after copious amounts of free coffee, biscuits and sugar (Mark) tiredness got the better of everyone and we went to sleep.

The next morning after a brief preparation meeting, the squad packed up and left to begin training at Simpson Ground, an area previously used for the training day at the Graythwaite JK 2004. We left with a view to not returning to Lakeside, so after packing we arrived reasonably late and began training at about 11am, practicing our 'map to ground' analysis with a simple 'follow the line' course where the aim was to count the number of controls placed on the line. This left time to complete one more exercise, so a pairs route choice exercise over 3km distance was selected and the deep marshes provided frequent amusement! After a long walk back to the minibus, we left to return home at 9pm that evening.

On behalf of the EAJS, I would like to thank Eleanor West, Richard Barker and Heather Sears as well as all of the weekend's organisers for helping to organise the coaching and courses. Also, a special thanks to Geoff Pye for his kindness in driving the squad to and fro. I strongly recommend that any younger members of the EAJS attend Lakeside when they are old enough as I have definitely found it beneficial to my orienteering!

James Lyne (SOS/EAJS)

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