Twenty cadets from around the country including our own Ruari B-S. arrived at Halton camp for a week of adventurous training, with options including caving, rock climbing, mountain scrambling, canoeing and kayaking.
Following a briefing on hot weather risks and mitigation as they were going to be operating during the hottest two days on record. With 35 degree temperatures in Lancaster the cadets headed for the hills.
Day one was intended as an assessment of skills and mountain legs to establish the level the group could work at. After around ten minutes of hiking the instructor decided they were good enough to keep up with him and led them to some of the routes he had been hoping to tick off himself.
This meant for a challenging week of high-grade scrambles and some even pushing into traditional climbing grades.
Despite the predictions of the temperature to spike on Monday and drop from Tuesday, it turned out that Tuesday would be even hotter. To survive this weather, the group stuck to scrambling up ghylls which allowed them to soak their t-shirts every ten minutes to attempt to stay cool. Fortunately, the temperature dropped on the third day to a bearable level which was welcomed by everyone.
On the fourth day Ruari and the group were told the army way of climbing a mountain is straight up – the tourist path would have taken four hours to reach the start of the scramble, so instead they hiked directly towards the start point. While this was a gruelling way up, slipping on the scree littering the slope, they arrived much faster than the beaten path.
The week concluded with a debrief on what had been learnt and achieved throughout the week and some DofE admin as for many of the group were using the course as their residential. Once this was finished there was a rush to Lancaster to get trains home. A great and challenging week of adventurous training.
Ruari said “I strongly encourage any Cadet to attend a CCAT course. We are very lucky to have these opportunities. Many courses are available including skinning in Bavaria, kayaking in France and climbing in Spain. As Major Money says, “You get out of CCF, what you put in”. Go and give him some admin to do… He loves it!”
Ruari left Cranleigh in July 2022 and he hopes to put all his Cranleigh CCF training to good use in the Royal Marines after university.