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Ruaridh Mon-Williams Orienteering 2012

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Lagganlia Tour of 2012

Lagganlia was an exciting orienteering training week for M14s selected from throughout Britain. We had experienced coaches who had competed at the top level in orienteering so there was a lot of great advice for us to learn from. My two coaches were Jonny and Rodger and I learned masses from them. The main thing that stands out from all the things I learned is simplification and running on bearings. Simplification is where you create attack points and pick out and only use the features that you need. It was really useful learning to run on a rough bearing while looking ahead rather than stopping to look at my compass.

I travelled to Lagganlia after I had completed four days of the Welsh six day. The Welsh six day was fantastic and left me excited about the opportunity to improve my orienteering skills. I think it was a good idea to have done some orienteering before the camp because it got me in the right frame of mind. To reach Lagganlia I caught a train to Aviemore from Ilkley, changing at Edinburgh.ย  I had arranged to meet Aiden Rigby at Edinburgh, with whom I was to be sharing a dorm, but in the end there were a number of us who met on the train, all excited at the prospect of a week away training together.

Lagganlia started with everybody getting to know each other by doing a memory game. In the game, people said their name as well as a job (like Ruaridh the runner) and then everyone had to remember all of the names. On the first three days we had great fun doing a variety of different exercises and fantastic relays. The exercise included things like concentration exercises on a relatively easy course with a lot of turns. We had coaches distracting us in the concentration exercises by various means (e.g. shouting at us to run faster or telling us โ€˜this wayโ€™ when it was the wrong direction). Of the relays, one of my favourites was the odds and evens relay where there were two maps and three people in a team. Each team needed to complete both courses but with only two people out on the course at the same time. My team (Aidan and Louise) won so I was happy!

After each day of training we went back to the centre for delicious food that everybody enjoyed and we could relax watching T.V., weโ€™d also have a talk in the evening about that day and the following dayโ€™s activities. I like to eat a lot of food so was very happy with all of the meals and snacks that the cooks had made. We had cereal for breakfast and then packed lunches when we were out training. In the evening we had a lovely evening meal.

Wednesday was our first opportunity to show off our new skills such as simplification, attack points, bearings, pacing etc. in competition. We did two sprint races, one in a forest/urban area and the other one purely urban. I had two nightmare runs but enjoyed them both, apart from one time on the second map where I found myself on the opposite side of the map!! The small 1: 1500 scale didnโ€™t help as I am not used to it โ€“ at least, thatโ€™s my excuse!! In the afternoon we braved the cold waters of the local loch- some of us lasted longer than others but no one lasted that long because it was freeeezing!!!

On Friday we had a tiring classic race finished off with some fun relays. The classic race had a lot of heather and much opportunity to get lost. I was the only one who enjoyed terrain running that day but I did not enjoy the navigation quite so much. The relay was a lot faster underfoot and the navigation was a lot easier but this made the head to head competitions more fun.

So hereโ€™s a quick summary….

Training I enjoyed most: The peg race โ€“ this is where on some race controls there are a few pegs for the first people but if you get a peg you must go to the penalty control so any one can win.
Favourite area: Rosalie, it was a wooded sand dune area with a lot of contour detail.
Least favourite: Sprint event 2 it was the only bad area it was just urban around a camp site.
Best food/worst food: My favourite meal was salmon and there were no meals I didnโ€™t like.
Awards: We all got different unusual award at the end of the camp and my award was the โ€œLegitโ€ award as I said that a lot when telling the coaches my plan!

Overall verdict: Lagganlia was a fantastic training week!

I really liked all of my coaches and I am very grateful to them for helping me improve my orienteering. I was really pleased that Nev and Tony selected me for the camp despite having some nightmare orienteering experiences this year. And Iโ€™m very grateful to them for all their hard work in putting on a fantastic training camp.

Thank you very much for this great experience. It was a fantastic opportunity that gained me new skills. I greatly appreciate the help that allowed me to have this experience!