CCF Easter Camp 2018

CCF Easter Camp started early as always with bleary eyed parents dropping off their children and getting home for a well-deserved coffee and some peace. The cadets paraded in their matching hoodies all ready for the long journey across the water and down through Scotland into England. The destination was Halton Camp in Lancaster, an old Royal Engineers Training Camp but is now a training camp for all MOD personnel to use as a base for those wanting to do Adventure Training. After a few hours’ drive from Scotland the cadets arrived and were allocated their rooms and groups. A short briefing that evening then bed ready for the rigors of the next three days.

We used Tower Wood Outdoor Activity Centre as our training base who are located on the picturesque shores of Lake Windermere. Once we arrived the groups were sent off with their instructors to take part in either water activities/high ropes or the dreaded hill days. The water activities were a mixture of sailing, canoeing or kayaking and as the name suggests it is wet and cold but the centre ensured all were kitted out with the right gear for the activity. Over the three days the cadets did get very wet, some because they wanted to, others because of the forces of nature or their inept ship mates. The high ropes are exactly what they state they are, taking you completely out of your comfort zone, hanging from trees and balancing on top of telegraph poles, not natural thing but everyone had a crack at it with some overcoming fears which they thought they never would. Over the three days the RAF graced us with their presence, not only flying over in a C130 transporter and a Chinook but also a low level “Top Gun” fly by in a Eurofighter, some of the cadets said he was that low you could have read his name badge.

The hill days were in the area of the Old Man of Coniston a famous peak in the Lake District towering over Coniston Water, the area is littered with mines some dating back as far as the Armada period where sulphur was clawed out for gunpowder, it is a foreboding place in bad weather and resembles a scene from a Tolkien book. The area has many paths and peaks and on all three days the weather changed by the hour, from minus 5 on the peak on day one to t-shirts then hail on day three. Day two was grim with sheet rain and strong winds, lunch was eaten within emergency shelters which added to the sense of adventure. All the teams over the days managed to “bag a peak” in the area and had a massive sense of achievement once back on the mini bus looking up at what they had just climbed.

The last night before home the cadets were treated to an evening of ten pin bowling, it is fair to say that for some, this was their first time and barriers and roller trollies were a great help to avoid embarrassment to all.

A big thanks goes out to all the staff at Tower Wood for their support and to the CCF staff who accompanied the cadets and also took part in the activities. We as the CFF would also like to a say a massive thank you to Royal Irish Regiment Association who donated funds in support to the camp. A last thanks is to the cadets and their parents who endure the early starts, the lack of phone calls home and the piles of dirty washing the cadets create in the minimum time, thanks for all your support.