After two training sessions on grass, the Reds squad switched to the water and running up hills as they enjoyed a day of fun, frolics and hard graft on a team bonding day in the Lake District.
They created their own version of Swallows & Amazons on Derwentwater during the two hour morning session and were then instructed to run up Honister Pass in a gruelling afternoon stint.
First task, in their groups of six, was to build a raft (plastic drums, poles and ropes provided) and then sail the makeshift craft on the lake. Most stayed afloat, but one group ended up in the water as their structure came apart.
There was probably more falling-out than bonding during the boat-building exercise but all eventually adapted with their range of hidden talents coming to the fore.
Plenty of banter was exchanged during the lunch break at the Glaramara Hotel in Borrowdale but some, in the know, preserved their energy for what was to come.
A timed run from base camp to Honister Slate Mine followed with the players tackling the steep gradient and the leading pack of elite athletes – Brad Carroll, Matty Clarke, Scott Allison, Kieran Charlton, Brad Hubbold and Dan Wordsworth – completed the run in under seventeen minutes with the rest getting there…..eventually.
The training session was concluded with a series of sprints over short but very steep pathways.
The squad will revert to more conventional training next week at their Penrith base.