----------------------------------- Training Camp, Elmscott, Devon (Various Dates) -----------------------------------
Sun, sea and shout! (or Westward "Thundercats" Ho!)
Twenty-one OUCCC troopers travelled to Devon for the annual training camp this year, including members of our sister-club, OUAC, and a sprinkling of uber-keen Freshers, aiming to make an early impression. As usual, we were in a primitive hostel, but at least it had hot water, bedding, and an inside toilet - essentials that we have not always had in the past.
As usual, we were in the middle of absolute nowhere, with just a 3-legged dog as a companion and so we amused ourselves with games of charades, which Dewy was very good at - apparently he needs a lot of sign language just to be understood anyway. There were some cliffs nearby, which were fun to walk along for about 5 minutes before we got amazingly bored of walking in one direction and so just sat down and hoped that Steve Marshall would telepathically know where we were and so pick us all up in his spacious mini. Fortunately, we were blessed with great weather and so just moping around the garden and losing bouncy balls was entertainment enough, along with raiding fields of their fruit and vegetables and wondering if the cows can actually get up if they are tipped onto their side (they can’t).
As far as the running was concerned, Paddy mapped out some good routes for us and Tom Richard Stevens chaperoned us round a insanely hilly 10 mile course that could have ended in multiple death. NKOTB Rich Franzese twisted about 9 ankles but managed to make it round and Courtney paid the ultimate price for trying to keep up with the lead group of men: as we turned into an empty field, with the group strung out, we could incredibly hear the second group catching us up. On further inspection, it was actually 600 crazy bullocks charging full pelt at us. The men were accordingly chivalrous and ran for their lives, leaving Courtney to scream and shout her way across the field in the hope that her supersonic pitch would scare them away, to no avail. Just as it looked like she would be trampled to death, Texan Travis leapt out of the bushes, fashioned a lasso out of his t-shirt, and caught one and then catapulted it back into the others. This bought Courtney enough time to stumble over the stile and make her escape.
Seeing as we were so near the sea, sand dunes were bound to rear their ugly head at some point, and so they did on the final session of the week. The course was so gruelling that Paddy collapsed on the final 45minute rep and covered himself head-to-toe in sand. Fortunately was the sea was nearby to cleanse him as he charged into it at full speed, trying to recreate the Guinness advert with the horses. With one captain very wet, Courtney wouldn’t play the "come closer to the sea, it’s really nice" game at all, and so Zoe took her place and got suitably drenched. This was after RyAnair had shaken off her reputation of being a shoddy airline and beaten Paddy and Brucey for raw pace along the beach. Jess however just went for a swim, and was last seen heading for Lundy... that’s a season of triathlon for you. Unfortunately, Tom Stevens had left us unattended for a few minutes (probably going to stop the magnetic poles from reversing) and so we had no idea that if you leave shoes close to the water when the tide is coming in, then your shoes will probably float off and get very wet. Great.
The sand dune session was made all the more tough by the fact that everyone had gone to Barnstaple the night before to sample the local ale. This "ale" was "Paintstripper Cider" and cleansed pennies within seconds. It also got you very drunk and so a Little Britain drinking game was invented after the many failed attempts of trying to get everyone to understand the rules of usually accepted drinking games. "eeeh-eh-ehhhhhhhhh" and a stroke of the face was the crux of the game, and this could be reversed with a cough in someone’s face, or skip a person with "I want that one". As Katie Sam had never seen Little Britain, she thought that Ben had actually made up this off the top of his head. This was made all the more incredible by the fact that Ben could barely see at this point. Once this game had served its course (about 3 hours), we made our way to Shout! Most of the club sang something to a suitably awful standard but the real lowlight was Brucey’s interpretation of ‘Backstreet’s back’ that was only made bearable by the fact that Dewy was spending most of the song trying to get off the floor, after licking up the beer that he’d spilled everywhere. There were no real club relations to speak of, not even the Anair-Franzese seeds of romance which had threatened to take root (ed. though on the dark-night-haunted walk Anair did valiantly protect and comfort Franz after an extremely cleverly thought out scare-athon, poor lad had kittens).
A big thank you should go to Chris Millard for driving the bus fantastically (and Stevie M and Paul for driving cars less fantastically) and to Paddy and Courtney for the organising of it. Paddy only let his temper get the better of him once when he threw Ben headlong into a wall for no reason whatsoever.
A successful trip in all, I believe. Many, many thanks to Rushy for driving around and to Alice for the stressful organisation.
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