Outdoor Adventures on CCF Summer Camp

Outdoor Adventures on CCF Summer Camp

A contingent of 45 members of the Corps’ Army Section headed for Sennybridge, Wales for the highlight of the training year: annual Summer Camp. After travel and an evening of fieldcraft revision and inter-section competitions, Day 2 was spent climbing on coastal cliffs and surfing on the sands of Porthcawl. The weekend was back to ‘green’ training – a two-day battle exercise which included building clearances, night ambushes on vehicle convoys under a canopy of flares, and battlefield first aid scenarios with terrifyingly realistic lost limbs. An evening of bowling, dominated as usual by the prowess of the staff, seemed enough to reenergize the indefatigable cadets, who spent the next two days on expedition in the Brecon Beacons. Through a combination of dry and liquid sunshine, they scaled Corn Du and Pen y Fan, rigged their own Tyrolean across a river into their wilderness campsite, and gave a hearty rendition of Sweet Caroline around a roaring campfire.

Up with the lark and the deluge of rain, off the cadets went again, straight from their tents into wetsuits for a canyoning session in a torrenting River Mellte which featured jumps from waterfalls, surrender to the current and desperate swimming to safety. Following an evening of platoon sports and a night back in Sennybridge’s palatial accommodation, it was back into uniform for Day 7. The morning was spent on the ranges, engaging pop-up targets from four positions in disturbing proximity to the M4 and then organizing the rescue of a bemused badger who inadvertently wandered onto the firing point; the afternoon on area practising fire and movement with paintball guns amid abandoned tanks and helicopters. Our final full day took some deep underground and underwater in the wet caves of the Neath Valley, others off to the Wye for a day’s two-man canoeing in the sunshine.

And in a jiffy, nine days were up. A splendid mess dinner on our last evening bade farewell to two stalwarts and legends of the Corps, Maj Henry Taylor and WO2 Maurice Byrne, who bowed out in style, accompanied by the lusty chorus of cadets singing a heartfelt Auld Lang Syne. Only those who have worked with or under them, hundreds of cadets and all us staff, will understand how very much they will be missed. The curtain came down for them and for all at final parade, where prizes were awarded to several cadets, including Best Cadet on Camp, Cdt Odeide, and Best NCO, Sgt Salem. But in truth all deserved prizes for their remarkable performances over the nine days, in which all the cadets exhibited in buckets the spirit and values of cadetship.


Capt, OC Army Section

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