Report on Ardnabannon Pre-Season camp

Wed 18 April 2012--admin

The Group assembled at Lagan Valley Leisureplex on Friday 13th April for the annual trip to Ardnabannon Outdoor Education Centre in Castlewellan. 25 of our young athletes together with 3 of our not so young coaches were soon under way and looking forward to an action packed weekend.

On arrival we were given the usual tour and safety talk, allocated to dorms and then out on to the lawn for Team Relays. This was designed to be, firstly, a group bonding session and, secondly, an attempt to tire the group in readiness for a good night’s sleep. We got it 50% right!!!!!!! After a hearty supper of tea and copious amounts of toast, followed by games of pool and table football the group settled down for a nano second before hitting the dorms.

Whether it was the excitement of being away from home or the fact that most were so well rested after the Easter holiday I’m not sure but sleep was not on the agenda! Nonetheless the coaches agreed that every minute awake after midnight meant a minute’s less sleep in the morning.

Payback for the coaches came at 6.55a.m. the next morning when all were roused and taken by Heather for a stretch session followed by a light run. For the sprinters and throwers this meant endless moaning and comments like, ‘Phil never makes us run this far.’ and ‘You don’t need to run to do shot putt.’

With breakfast consumed groups went bouldering up the Bloody Bridge River, canoeing at Castlewellan Lake or took on the High Ropes Course, Climbing Wall or Zip Wire. The squeals could be heard at the top of Donard! ( and that was just the boys! ) Everyone gave it a real good go and showed their competitive spirit in all activities. Meanwhile Jo was on her 27th cup of tea.

After a warm shower and evening meal the Lisburn Olympics began. 5 countries were represented competing against each other in 3 disciplines. Football, Hockey and Tag Rugby (or at least a form of Tag Rugby. I’m not sure the I.R.F.U. would sanction this version of the game!)

Unfortunately all were defeated by the light and the cold and we suspended play for the comfort of the Dining Room where we held a Team Quiz. When all points were added the winners were North Korea!

The leaders thought that a long day outdoors and little sleep the night before would ensure a silent night. Wrong again!! The boundless energy of the athlete. It was, however, a different story on Sunday morning when the knock came at 7.00a.m There was complete silence and only when doors were knocked for the third time did we hear any sound at all.

A rather quiet bunch assembled on the lawn for the morning stretch and jog with one or two of the wide awakers from the night before unable to complete the session.

Payback!!! Breakfast seemed to give all a lift and the groups went bouldering, adventure walking or on to the high ropes course. Once again the athletes excelled and the instructors were most impressed by the abilities of the group. A few were still quiet/sleepy/knackered!!

It was then back to the centre for Sunday lunch, pack up and departure. An excellent weekend for all. Thanks to everyone.