Summer Training Camp Port Eynon 24th - 26th August 2012
August 27, 2012
The first IWCA Athletics Club training camp in South Wales was an overwhelming success that was very much enjoyed by all involved.
Nine youngsters and four adult coaches set out from Blackbird Leys for the Gower peninsula on 24th August. We arrived at the Port Eynon Youth Hostel – a converted ex-lifeboat station - at 4pm. Living so far from the sea our youngsters were eager to get on the beach as soon as they could – regardless of the over-cast, ominus skies. We all had an hour on the rain swept beach before checking in to the hostel where we soon dried off, freshened up and cooked and settled down to our evening meal. We then spent the rest of the day getting our bearings by exploring the local area on foot.
The boys’ room at the Youth Hostel faced straight out onto the sea, while the girls had less of a view but plenty of space. The male coaches’ room was smaller but did the trick all the same. The accommodation was very clean and tidy with adequate showers and toilet facilities and a very spacious kitchen. The manager Dianne and her husband Martin were also very helpful. While the other guests were also easy company.
Everyone was up on Saturday morning for 7.30am as arranged. After a quick snack we headed out for the morning training session.
In marked contrast to the previous afternoon, the weather was dry and temperatures warm – perfect for beach training. After running a course along the sandy section of Port Eynon beach we got stuck into some impromptu ‘beach Olympics’ including long jump and shot put. First prizes going to Andrew and Peter respectively with Coach David Troth, who was celebrating his 50th birthday, taking the senior honours. Once our young athletes were warmed down, stretched off and showered, we all tucked into cooked breakfast prepared by the coaches.
After breakfast and handing over the birthday cards and pressie to David, we set out in the minibus for Rhossili Bay – the most westerly bay on the Gower peninsula which sits 193 meters below Rhossili Downs, the Gower’s highest point. This area is breathtakingly beautiful. The stunning three mile golden beach is sandwiched between rugged cliffs and overlooked by ‘Worms Head’ a spectacular rock formation which juts out a mile into the Atlantic Ocean. Rhossily Bay is a favourite with surfers due to the crashing, rolling waves. Our youngsters (and coaches!) spent no time getting into the water to wave ride and this kept them occupied for some time.
A youngsters versus oldsters football match and game of rounder’s was just the ticket to help get heat back into our bodies once the wind chill factor set in after leaving the water. After an enjoyable few hours we climbed the steep hill back up to the car park and following ice creams all round, we set off back to base.
We treated ourselves to a fish and chip dinner via the Port Enyon chippy in honour of David’s 50th and then spent time further exploring the local scenery. Later, while Graca and Stuart supervised the youngsters for a games night back at the hostel, David and Simon were released from duties for a birthday drink at the local pub (the night out being made all the sweeter by the fact that the band entertaining the enthusiastic full house in the back bar of the pub played a rousing set of old Two Tone favourites from the dynamic duo's youth).
Once again on Sunday morning everyone was up and ready for 7.30am. After a small bite to eat we headed off up the cliffs for a bracing run followed by a warm-down and stretch out on the beach in yet more sunshine. After a big breakfast and tidy up we packed our things into the minibus, said our goodbyes and headed off a few miles up the coast to Oxwich Bay where we spent a few hours messing about in the sea and sand.
The sea at Oxwich Bay contrasts strikingly with that at Rhossili Bay in that it is relatively calm and therefore ideal for boating and swimming. On this particular day the sandy beach was also the backdrop to a local wedding, which came in handy as we managed to park for free in the local hotel as assumed wedding reception guests!
Eventually we had to reluctantly head back to the minibus for the journey home. We stopped for dinner just outside The Mumbles near Swansea City Centre and then again at a service area for a final snack and cuppa before arriving home as planned for just before 6pm.
Everyone involved in the trip agreed it was a great success. The staff at the hostel praised our children's behaviour and told us that we are welcome to come back any time and we are now planning a return trip for a longer period next year (and possibly even a winter training weekend this year).