Freddie Lake was selected to attend a Junior Regional Squad tour to the Czech Republic. He kindly done a report for us on the trip and makes great reading. The maps look awesome!

"Where to start? The location, the people, the food. Every moment of this tour was a great experience for me and for everyone else that went; however, we didn’t go there just for a pleasant holiday, we went there to train. For the first two days we trained in similar areas that were both quite close to our accommodation, these areas gave us a great insight as to what Czech had to offer in terms of terrain. On day one we went to an area called Bramberk and we started off with a line exercise designed to show us what the map style was like and how it differs to the UK (turns out it is quite different), then there were three other courses I did that all made you think of the style you needed to navigate in different terrains, all of them were different yet equally as challenging Czech%202. Personally, it took me a while to get into the map and terrain as I kept on getting lost on really simple legs. But by the end of the day, I felt as if I had mastered the area in its entirety as when we got to the Friendship relay at the end, I made no mistakes and had a clean run. The second area was the WOC 2021 middle area (Buková) Czech%203 and it was similar to the first, as were the exercises we did, except these were more based on navigation through thick vegetation (nasty.) Two of the exercises were directed at navigating at speed whilst running as fast as you could down a hill, and one was based on moving in and out of different vegetation, e.g. going from lovely, open woodland to harsh, spiky, dark-green veg between each control. And to cap off the day, we ended on a clock relay were only half the controls had been put out (this was accidental however the coaches insisted it was all part of the plan). Days 3 (Kalich) and 4 (Drabovna) were both very similar as well Czech%204. Both areas were based on sandstone and, in my opinion, were the best places we went to all week though the map doesn’t show it, we must’ve been navigating between 20-meter-high rocks! It truly was a sight to behold. The exercises made us navigate through the mazes of sandstone and through the biggest ravines (it’s so much fun when there isn’t health and safety regulations to worry about.) on the night of the 3rd day we did a night-O around the forest where our accommodation was based, it was very fun even if I didn’t do too well. I felt like every day I was learning something new about the areas of Czech and I feel as if my navigation and fitness has improved greatly because of it. I think this showed when we did the 3-day Pěkné Prázdniny competition, if it hadn’t been for the 4 days of training I had received beforehand then I would probably still be out in the Czechian forest slowly making my way to control 1, however luckily for me (and unluckily for some) I got around all the races with some results that surprised me and others that I had expected. Overall, I had a blast out in the Czechian wilderness, also the people I was with made it so much better (not to mention the food) and I learnt so much from my brief but highly enjoyable visit and I can only hope and try to be in the tour next year."

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