Cranleigh School – CCF AT CAMP

17 Apr 2019

The aim of this years Adventure Training Camp was to ‘develop individual courage and leadership skills through controlled exposure to risk in a challenging outdoor environment in order to enhance the Cadet experience here at Cranleigh CCF’ – Tick!

After months of planning, organising and paperwork, 28 Cadets in 4 sections travelled up to Watgill Army Camp, part of Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire on the 30th March for five days.

Once accommodation was sorted and evening meal consumed, the Cadets started planning the routes for the expedition under the watchful eye of the second commanders, Hugo Bonsey, Ben Fu, Charlie Thorn and Will Marshall.

The first two days Cadets took part in various activities:

Caving – We used a provider to take us underground in the Dales.  Cadets learned about the geology and squeezed through tight routes which included names like ‘Hell’.  This pushed Cadets out of their comfort zones, and teamwork helped as they pushed and pulled 2Lt Verdon through the famous ‘Cheese Press’.

Climbing – We used the indoor wall at Ingleborough where Cadets learned how to tie in and belay.  Some very impressive climbing as Cadets worked together to complete some tough routes including an introduction to lead climbing for some.

High Ropes – We went to Adrenalin Adventure to climb on jump off poles.  This taught teamwork and made Cadets push their fears to one side to complete the tasks, which included ‘Jacobs Ladder’.  With the record set at 1 minute 20 seconds to complete the competitive nature came out and Jasper and Jacob drew with an impressive time of 52 seconds.  Cadets were blindfolded so their partners had to cue communication skills to talk them up and then off climbs.

Mountain Bikes – After bike fitting and a safety brief by AUO Winterbottom, the Cadets biked up the long hill to reveal spectacular views of the Dales, which included a RAF fly pass for one of the sections.  What goes up must come down and the reward for the huffing and puffing was the exhilarating bike back down.

The Expedition – As the weather tuned Cadets handed in their route cards and started the three day expedition covering the three peaks.

Day one, the teams climbed Pen-y-gent (694m), just after lunch we had the first flurry of snow as the teams navigated to the Summit, this really added to the experience.  The weather improved as we set up camp and cooked Army rations on Trangia stoves. With more snow overnight and a cold night’s sleep, Captain Money decided to change the plan. After a discussion with the other Mountain Leaders, it was decided to shorten day two and return to camp after climbing the second peak, Whernside (736m) for chips and a warm up.

A cooked breakfast and packed lunch was arranged, and we set off to complete the expedition with the third peak, Ingleborough (723m).  After a bright start by the Ribblehead Viaduct the weather turned and the wind picked up with wind gusts from 40mph increasing on the top, all 4 sections were forced to turn back before the summit and the vital lesson ‘the mountain will always be there’ was learned.

The final evening all teams took part in a quiz organised by Lt Constable with plenty of snacks.  The staff team need to brush up on their music knowledge before next year!

Many thanks to all the staff that gave up their holiday time to give the Cadets this amazing week.  Thanks to CSM Hugo Bonsey and his team of section commanders who showed and learned great leadership qualities mentoring their sections.

The Section Commanders awarded prizes to their top Cadets, well done to Will, Jake, Scarlett and Monty.  Above all, huge congratulations to all the Cadets who were a pleasure to be with.  We are very proud of them and I hope that they got a lot out of the trip.