Listening to the nod vine and speaking to other troops in recruit training I knew this week was going to be tough to say the least!  A lot of ‘yomping’ and navigating culminating with two days of survival.  The first day of Exercise HUNTERS MOON involved loading the 4 tonners and then taken to the drop off point by coach to a pub car park in Dartmoor.  We then started the exercise with an insertion yomp of approximately 7km, which took around 3 hours carrying our bergans, webbing and rifle.  This was tough and it was only the first yomp of many on this exercise!  Once we reached the ‘Scout Hut’ we were briefed and sat down for a ‘no move’ and had a hot wet.  When all sections were back we were shown where we were going to stay for the night and then headed out for our first night navigational exercise.  Navigating using a map and compass is not always easy, but doing so at night is a whole different ball game. Having been split into our sections we headed out with our section commanders.  Navigating in the dark around Dartmoor is tough and with the inclement weather and difficult terrain it certainly made it tricky.  Day 2 followed a similar pattern with day time and night time (in groups of 4) navigations.  We also had a ‘stalking’ lesson which was good fun and gave us a taste of what’s to come in Phase 2 of training.

Day 3 was a bit different.  After a kit muster and some of the members of the troop having some ‘extra phys’ we packed up and yomped back to the drop off point by the pub in Dartmoor stopping off to have the last bit of scran and ‘oggin’ we knew would have in a few days!  After transport had dropped us of at another location we were lead by our OC and training team to where we were going to be doing out survival exercise for the next 2 days. Arriving at the woodblock we emptied our pockets and were left with just our survival tins and clasp knifes! This was when I knew it really was going to be a game of survival!  We were then taken to our harbour area and made our fire for the night and instructed to set up our shelter at first light.  Keeping our fire going all night takes a lot of grit and determination because finding sticks in the dark is more than a challenge especially when we were set up on a steep slope.  After setting up a routine of sleeping, collecting wood and keeping the fire going we constructed our shelter at first light.  We were then shown how to make use of wild animals, kill, cook, and eat.  This was all the food we were to be freely given.  Anything else we had to catch.  On Friday we woke up at first light to be instructed by the training team to collapse our shelters, extinguish our fires and gash sweep the area in an hour.

When we managed to get back up the hill as a troop we loaded the 4 tonners again and set off back to camp.  Arriving back at camp and seeing the gates on arrival you heard a sigh of relief, knowing that we had all done well and finished HUNTERS MOON.  Then we unloaded the 4 tonners and got all our equipment and marched/hobbled back to our block, cleaned our weapons and started to de-service our kit.  We all knew we were close to going home for the weekend until we realised that we owed the training team time and they decided the best way for us to give this time back was the infamous Mud Run!

Rct Baldwin


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