Silva O-Camp 2021

Silva O-Camp, Czech Republic, July 2021

by Fionnuala Rowe

In July 2021, Oscar, Gerry Browne and I went to the Vidnava in the Czech Republic for an orienteering training camp. We only went because the Scottish 6 day became impossible for us due to travel restrictions, and most of the foreigners who usually travel to the Silva O-Camp couldn’t travel because of Covid. It was very last minute but we made it work.

So we set off for Czech a couple of days late and arrived at the camp in the middle of the night. It was in a forest near a town on the Czech border with Poland. There were 2 fields surrounded by small triangular shaped huts, a cabin with a kitchen and a pub, a couple of bathroom blocks and a river running alongside. There were around 140 kids of all ages from 8 to 18 and loads of great coaches (30+), all volunteers. Everyone there spoke Czech except us but the majority had reasonable English because they learned it in school.

Everyday there would be two training sessions, one before lunch and one after lunch. There was also a competition running throughout the 11 days (Silva - O cup) and loads of other fun things such as discos (which were so fun), Night O races, relays with all ages and one shared map, camp fires and a game called Superpuncher with loads of controls in a big circle and you have to punch the controls in the correct order (I came second in this, but I was fine with that as the winner was thrown in the manky lake at the edge of the camp).

The training was really well organized and beneficial. There were activities such as corridors, up hill challenges, one man relay, there and back, and courses with many controls in one area and you had to choose what route choice to take. Everyone had to bring bikes but they had some spares for us which was just as well because we cycled to everything. We also went on a very very very long cycle on one of the days and I have to say that the bikes were terrible so it was tough.

The food in Czech was different to Ireland. There was bread, ham, cheese, cucumber, pepper and a little granola for breakfast, lasagna, bolognaise, stew etc for lunch and sometimes in my opinion normal dinners but we also had custard and cake and a jam dumpling with cinnamon for dinner.

On the 2nd last day there was an event called the Silva Olympics which was so much fun. We were put into teams with every age class and given a list of tasks, such as archery, barrel rolling, swimming in the lake in your clothes, looking for golden rocks in the river, obstacle courses and shooting. There was a big ceremony at the start where all the coaches put on costumes and danced and sang very badly and set a barrel of wood on fire as the Olympic flame.

We had lots of fun and had loads of really good training and met loads of new people and I really want to go back next year!

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