They counted them out and – with some relief, given the size of Carlisle United’s squad just now – counted them all back in again.

All the Blues players and coaches who took to the water at Coniston yesterday managed to return to shore. No casualties, no men overboard.

They had been out for the best part of two hours, on canoes, divided into teams of four or five for a lake-based orienteering challenge.

Part of a two-day team-building trip, it required those involved to follow a map, row to different parts of the lake and collect the seven necessary numbers within the given time slot.

The boats containing Adam Collin, Byron Webster, Jarrad Branthwaite and trialist Elliott Reeves were the last back on dry land. But they also contained the winners – this was the only team to pick up all the required markers.

The idea behind this exercise, run by outdoor activities company Adventure 21, was that one individual per team would take instructions and then pass them onto their colleagues. Communication and teamwork were the watchwords. The same went for the team of backroom staff who also climbed into the boats: Gavin Skelton, Craig Wight, Colin Nixon and David Waldie, the latter having organised the two-day trip which continues today.

United’s players were based at Lanehead, overlooking Coniston Water. In past summers they have ventured to different parts of the county for similar pre-season purposes, notably Cassius Camps near Windermere.

Under strength and conditioning coach Waldie and manager Steven Pressley, the 2019 version has involved different challenges. There was the recent slog up the sand dunes at Lytham St Annes, and now this trip.

Last night, further activities were planned back at base. Today, meanwhile, involves a hike up the Old Man of Coniston, all 2,634 feet of it.

It is physical, mental and collective work in beautiful surroundings which - the theory goes - will stand a hopefully swelled squad in good stead when they need to dig deep in League Two games this coming season.

Pressley and physio Neil Dalton watched the rowers head out before repairing to a nearby cafe. There, Carlisle’s manager caught up on transfer business before heading back out to greet his players and staff as they returned.

Goalkeeper Louis Gray, after hopping out of a boat that also contained Christie Elliott, Josh Dixon and Miles Storey, enjoyed the lake-based challenge and the principle behind it.

“We were given a map with different points and numbers, at that number, inside a 30m radius, we had to find a plaque on a tree or post and get the number,” he said.

“We made it back first, but we didn’t manage to get them all.

“It was good for team-building. We’ve gelled pretty quickly so far. It’s a great bunch of lads, as it was last season, and as the new ones have come in everyone has made them welcome. It’s all about building on that.”

Gray then looked forward to the next tasks, which were to be divided amongst further groups in the evening.

“My room has to do a presentation to the group on a successful team, so we’re doing the All Blacks rugby team,” he said.

“I’ve had to do it all on my own as I don’t think there’s a brain cell between the rest of them! It should be interesting. I think the lads are more looking forward to watching Love Island…

“Another group of lads has to make tea for everyone, so I don’t know what that’s gonna be like. Some are making breakfast in the morning too, and others are making lunch for the walk up the Old Man.”

From which the view will no doubt be highly impressive. Let us hope these players can say similar about the league table when they come to paddle their way through 2019/20.