As a result of Ben’s spur-of-the-moment idea to go training abroad, four CUOC members and four DrongO/JOK/York members travelled out on £26 return Ryanair flights for three days of training on some outstanding terrain in Norway. So it was that we left Cambridge at 5am, pockets stuffed full of stuff to meet Ryanair’s hand baggage requirements.
On arrival we were kindly greeted by sunshine and a man called Øyvind who was in charge of the OK Moss club hut and offered to pick us up from the airport. After only 13km we were at the hut which was surrounded for miles but nothing but amazing Norwegian pine trees, and the town of Moss. And unsurprisingly, every bit of it was mapped.
A quick but relatively expensive food shop later involving an awful lot of sausage and we were sorted for the duration of the trip. We started with the area to the North of the hut, with less experienced starting on a line course and the more experienced on a very technical loop planned by Ben Stevens, involving an awful lot of dot knolls.
Later in the evening more Norwegians arrived to take us to the club’s exciting Thursday evening training. They call it club training, but as far as I could see it’s identical to what we would call a summer evening race. I prefer their description. Ben Stevens did well to come second on the long course within 3 minutes of the winner, and Matt Halliday came in just 19 seconds behind. Matthew Vokes and Ben Windsor walked most of the long course as a map memory, since Matthew had hurt his ankle earlier whilst making videos of jumping off things.
Friday was just rain, rain and more rain. But this wasn’t going to stop us training! In the morning Matt Halliday planned a fantastic course of about 6km starting/finishing at the hut in the area to the East, giving plenty of opportunities to get compass and visualisation just right. Matthew Vokes had planned a chasing sprint for the afternoon, which was really enjoyable and got competitive as well. The evening saw a Micro sprint around the hut planned by Matthew, and the late evening saw Ben Windsor and Scott Collier out for a 1km NightO course.
Saturday was our final day and we decided to trek South for 4 km or so to an awesome area surrounded by fjords. On the way there we stopped for a 1km map memory course in pairs, then 30 minutes of a relocation exercise before lunch whilst Ben Stevens hung a peg relay he had planned, which rounded off the mini-tour nicely. Matt Halliday, fully complacent beforehand that he would get every peg, did indeed live up to his words and also finished 5-10 minutes before Matthew Vokes, Scott Collier, and Ben Windsor who all finished at the same time.
Back to the hut for sweet and sour sausages and rice, and a clean up, then we walked out about 6km to Moss station to get a train back to the airport.
A brilliant three days of training, £80 total cost, there is no possible reason not to do it again in future! There were also many amusing quotes!