Category Archives: Adventure Training

ROYAL APPOINTMENT FOR CADETS

gold award at St James'sSeveral Air Cadets from 1220 (March) Squadron were recently invited to St James’s Palace in London, to be presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award certificates.

To complete their award they have to take part in various activities.  The cadets took on volunteering duties for a period of 12 months which included representing the Air Training Corps at various community events.

The physical section held them to improve their overall fitness and to do this most of the cadets learned how to play table tennis.  They all had to learn a new skill and this varied from studying Aeronautics, playing an instrument in a band and leaning Marksmanship skills.

There is a residential element which involves staying away from home for a period of ate lease 4 nights and taking part in a group activity.  A couple of the cadets travelled to Cyprus for this and spent time learning about Royal Air Force operations overseas.

Finally, all of them completed a 4 day expedition in the Lake District.  Totally self-sufficient they used their navigation and teamwork skills to complete this challenging part of the award.

At the palace, HRH the Earl of Wessex took time to speak with the successful candidates and then certificates were presented by Mr Mike Bannister who was the chief pilot on Concorde.  Mr Bannister gave an inspiring talk about is time on Concorde which the cadets and their parents enjoyed.  

Flight Sergeant Katie Mowatt said of the day ‘It is an amazing achievement and going to the palace made all the hard work worth it. The day was very special and I was glad my dad was there to share it with me.’

MARCH AIR CADET PUTS BEST FOOT FORWARD

Alfie Jaggard (16), an air cadet from 1220 (March) Squadron, has recently returned triumphant after completed the gruelling 100 mile Nijmegen road march in Holland.

Alfie Jaggard with his Nijmegan badge

Alfie Jaggard with his Nijmegan badge

The “Vierdaagse” (Dutch for “four-day event”) is an annual walk that has taken place since 1909, and has been based at Nijmegen since 1916. There are different routes to take part in, with Alfie and his team completing 100 miles over four days. Numbers have risen in recent years, with over 40,000 taking part; it is now the world’s largest walking event. Many participants take part every year, including several that have taken part in 50, and even 60 different annual marches.

Each day of the marches is named after the biggest town it goes through. Tuesday is the day of Elst, Wednesday the day of Wijchen, Thursday the day of Groesbeek and Friday the day of Cuijk. On the Friday, as participants near the finish, spectators award the walkers with gladioli, a symbol of force and victory since Roman times.

Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing takes part in the marches every year and 2014 proved to be yet another successful year, with everyone completing the route and earning the coveted “Vieradaagse Kruis” medal. During their time in Holland, the team was able to pay its respect to those that lost their lives in Operation Market Garden, laying a wreath at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery.

The success was the culmination of eight months of intense training including completion of the Waendel Walk, which takes place in the area around Wellingborough covering over 52 miles.

Team leader Flight Sergeant (ATC) Alan Starling, who completed the marches for a fifth time, said “The team has found the training programme challenging, everyone has put a huge amount of effort into their own performances and supporting others in the team. As a result everyone completed the route and can wear their Nijmegen Medal with great pride.”

Alfie said, “I’m so proud to have completed the walk and look forward to next year. I would highly recommend it.”

MARCH AIR CADETS VISIT EDALE

During the recent bank holiday, air cadets from 1220 (March) Squadron spent three days in the Peak District completing training for their silver Duke of Edinburgh’s award expedition.

1220 cadets in Edale

1220 cadets in Edale

For some it was their first experience of navigation in the hills.  They quickly learned how to interpret contour lines on the map and relate them to the ground. Camping in the centre of Edale, they completed three different routes and walked the Edale skyline.

The first day was beautifully sunny and the cadets walked from the campsite to Win Hill, then Lose Hill, before following the ridge over Mam Tor – named the shining mountain after a landslip.

On day two, they climbed up to the plateau of Kinder Scout via Ringing Roger.  After making their way to Crowdon Tower they were given the opportunity to try some scrambling on the rocks there. It was then time to practise their compass work by taking a bearing and making their way across the featureless plateau to the Kinder Downfall, which made more difficult as it was necessary to avoid deep boggy ground.

1220 cadets in Edale

1220 cadets in Edale

On the final day, the cadets were challenged to find their own way to Castleton to meet the staff.  Carrying full expedition sacks, they agreed their route with the staff and set off to use their newly acquired skills.

Cadet Ewan MacRae (15) said, “It was fun to navigate on different terrain especially as the hills allowed us to get good views”. Cadet Frasier Casson-Rennie (15) said that he enjoyed being able to see where he had been and was about to go.

SNOWDONIA ADVENTURE FOR MARCH AIR CADETS

1220 (March) Squadron spent its Easter break in Snowdonia National Park. Arriving late on the Thursday night, the cadets set up the campsite in the beautiful surroundings of Lynn Crafnant.

1220 cadets at the summit of Cnicht

1220 cadets at the summit of Cnicht

On Good Friday and Easter Saturday, ten cadets and one member of staff completed the Silver National Navigation Award Scheme syllabus. Good Friday was a training day spent in the Carneed region, where the cadets learnt navigation techniques such as contouring, handrailing, and using compass bearings.

The next day they travelled to the Moelwyns to undertake their assessment. After reaching the summit of Cnicht, they used their navigation skills to navigate between Lynns before reaching a disused quarry. From there they descended to the finish point. All eleven participants were successful in completing the silver award.

On Easter Sunday, the Central and East Region Adventure Training Technical Officer joined the Squadron to climb Mount Snowdon.The group took the Rhyd Ddu path and descended via the Snowdon Ranger path. The summit was shrouded in cloud, but lifted sufficiently for the cadets to get a brief view from the top.

Cpl Aleks Deaves said, “It was a fantastic opportunity to climb Snowdon and I am now more confident with bearings and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The scenery was amazing!”

During their time in Snowdonia, the 10 cadets were able to use new day sacks specifically designed for a long day of training in a challenging environment. The Squadron has been able to purchase these invaluable items with a generous grant from Fenland’s Youth District Council.

NORTHERN SECTOR JOINS FORCES FOR DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S AWARD

The Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition season has kicked off at 1220 (March) Squadron with a Bronze expedition in the Norfolk area. Nine cadets from March took part, forming two teams.

1220 cadets at the end of their expedition.

1220 cadets at the end of their expedition.

The team of four’s members were completing their final expedition, working towards completing their Bronze award. They planned their route and spent two days completing the journey. During this time, they were self-sufficient, carrying everything they need.

The second group used the weekend as a practice for their actual expedition, which they will complete later in the year. They also completed the route but were accompanied by an experienced cadet, who had already completed the award at Gold level. En-route they were coached on how to walk as a group, how to carry their kit comfortably and how to look after each other. They were also helped with their navigation and route finding.

In addition to the two groups from 1220 squadron, cadets from other squadrons in the northern sector of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing formed two other groups. They completed a practice route and look forward to completing their final expedition in July.

1220 cadets at the start of their expedition.

1220 cadets at the start of their expedition.

Cadet Alan Jackson (14) from March said, “It was great to be outside and away from technology for a couple of days. The good weather and team members helped me enjoy the experience; it was a lot of fun.”