Adventure Training for Cadets Ex Welsh Waters

Adventure Training for Cadets Ex Welsh Waters

In a flagrant breach of tradition, clear skies, regular sunshine and mild temperatures accompanied a party of 45 cadets from four year-groups to South Wales for the Corps’ annual adventurous training camp. Donning wetsuits, Wellies and helmets, cadets scrambled, waded and splashed their way up the beautiful Sychryd Gorge, a chilly but much-needed wash for some which culminated in leaps from the top into the plunge pool below. Just down the river at Craig-y-Dinas, a package of climbing and abseiling on an imposing limestone face featured training in both climbing and belaying, before competitions began to rage fiercely: Cpl Wright’s one-handed ascent proved unbeatable despite his juniors’ attempts, while other cadets made remarkable progress on demanding pitches. An evening out in the cultural centre of Merthyr Tydfil stood as a warming reward for the first exhausting two days, which also gave the officers the chance to compete in the manly art of ten-pin bowling. The steward’s enquiry into the Flt Lt Hillier’s unlikely victory continues …

The cadets also undertook their 1* navigation assessment in the beautiful hills of the Vale of Neath and completed a six-mile course in under 2.5 hours with just a map and a compass. But the star attraction of the area was the famous cave systems at Porth Yr Ogof and the Neath Valley. An initial session allowed cadets to enter through a majestic entrance and explore some narrow squeezes and geological wonders. This training was building experience and confidence for a more demanding second session underground: an entrance through a rift which an Army breakfast nearly precluded; crawls (or rather collapses) headfirst through fissures; and finally a total soaking, before surfacing, chilly but victorious, to the watery Welsh sunshine.

All cadets approached the training with the dauntless spirit the exercise aimed to engender, and returned at last, exhausted but smiling, to Caterham, with the Corps’ reputation for hardiness and adventure burnished by their laudable spirit and enthusiasm.

Capt Mathew Owen

OC Army Section

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