Words and pictures by Laura Harrison
We started the day training on Burbage Moor, the snow was heavy, and it was cold but spirits were high we were all up for a good days training ahead. As we were waiting for all the juniors to arrive, Dom and I decided to build an orienteering snowman which was so much fun and the perfect way to start the training. Once the excitement of the snow was over, the newer and younger members of the squad walked a line course whilst the older members carried the tents and equipment up to the start of all the courses. The line course allowed the younger or newer members to grasp the terrain and help them to picture features shown on the map and relate it to the terrain around them. We had 4 courses available throughout the day of training to practise our technique over moorland, all were about 1km each. There was a longer legs, contour and rock detail, and compass bearings. We all set out doing our own thing and working on improving the areas of development. Maps were available with just contours and rock details with no colour or vegetation shown to allow the older members to focus on the important parts of the map and help us to focus on really simplifying the legs. Eventually we all had to stop as we had all become cold and tired from the snow and a full day of training. We all jumped into the cars and headed to St Michael’s Environmental Centre to warm up and prepare for the Christmas Dinner and activities planned for the night ahead.
After everyone had arrived at the Centre, we all were chatting and reflecting on the days training. We had Christmas music playing and the tables were being set for the Christmas Dinner ahead. Pete got all the juniors playing the Newspaper Game and the M/W16s got all the juniors throwing Kit Kat the Bear and Chunky the Chicken around to let everyone bond further and allow everyone to get to know who everyone was, and Nick Lightfoot also allowed the juniors to play the interactive orienteering game, Virtual O, off various laptops and even the coaches were having a go. After all the fun and games, Christmas dinner was ready and we all sat around the tables with crackers, party hats and party poppers with Christmas music playing throughout. It was an amazing Christmas dinner and it was so nice to spend it with everyone from the squad. To end off the night, we had the Squad Awards with everyone gaining a prize for a special achievement throughout the year.
Overall, it was a fantastic day even with the cold from the snow and it was a day of great company with lots of laughter throughout. I would personally like to thank Natasha for organising the weekend, Pete for planning, Jackie for the fabulous Christmas dinner and providing a wonderful meal for so many, Nathan and Sam for putting out controls and shadowing so many juniors and finally to all the coaches and helpers who helped to look after and ensure the juniors were safe throughout the day.