Monday morning and already the pressure was on, as the thought of the Chatham Company OC’s rounds loomed. It was all on our minds as failure would make our lives much harder. However, we were all in high spirits to start the week with interval drill. Drill was testing; as it was a recap on everything we have learned already, preparing us for arms drill. There was a lot to remember and consider, but we were all confident and didn’t make too many mistakes
After drill came a punishing 4 mile booted run around the local lanes, a winding corridor of incline, decline and sharp turns. The run was particularly hard as it was the first time in boots, so before long the quadricep’s were burning.
Tuesday was quite an easy and enjoyable day as far as it goes. RMCC was first on the agenda, three hours of tiring scrapping on the hills overlooking the bottom field. Today’s lesson was a recap on all our previous tuition, albeit it tiring as always.
There then followed lessons on First Aid, including evacuation, breaks and burns, and how to deal with these problems when they arose. Staying awake during these lessons was a real struggle, however, with copious amounts of coffee we made it through. What followed wasn’t about to make things easier for us, a whole night of cleaning in preparation for the OC’s Rounds the following morning. We left no stone unturned, we swept and mopped every inch of floor space, we polished and cleaned all surfaces, sinks, shelves, toilets and cupboards. You name it, we cleaned it, and after 12 hours of solid cleaning the opportunity arose to get a little sleep before the morning.
Wednesday was the day of OC’s rounds, and as we were all stood by our beds we listened to what was going on in other rooms. Our stomachs were in knots, as we all knew that failure would lead to hell for us. As a result of our efforts, we passed to a high standard and we were all pretty chuffed enough to enjoy the relief. This had been another tick in the box and our last major inspection of the accommodation.
A lecture on fire safety followed, and the prospect of staying awake after the night we had just experienced seemed impossible. Against all odds we made it through and fulfilled another training objective. Thankfully the PTI changed the subsequent 4 mile booted run to a short recovery and stretching session in preparation for the RM Fitness Assessment on Friday. After this came the Troop Commander’s inspection of our drill rig, and standing to attention for so long proved to be a challenge, again surprisingly pulling a good pass out of the bag, despite the exhaustion.
Thursday was a day we had all been looking forward to, Survival Training with the Mountain Leaders. After an introductory video we took a short coach ride to Stallcombe, where the ML’s were waiting for us. As soon as we stepped off the coach we were in for a short, slow-paced run to the training area. This turned out to be an all-out sprint on a never ending route with our webbing and daysacks on our backs. It was safe to say that we were fully awake for the remainder of the day’s lessons on the priorities of survival, food, water, shelter, traps and snares. This was all in preparation for the survival phase of Exercise HUNTER’S MOON, our next major exercise. Thursday was a good day.
Friday was a very demanding day. Firstly was our fitness assessment, which got off to a sloppy and disappointing start with none of us demonstrating our full potential on the bleep test, however we quickly turned it around and performed well on the second half. We all showed considerably improved levels of fitness. 3 individuals achieved the maximum repetitions on press ups, pull ups and sit ups, proving that the methods employed by the PTI are clearly working.
A short ride to Woodbury Common followed to undertake our first full-on navex. We started off performing a resection to determine our exact location, then from there we moved to the start/finish point. After 3 hours we had moved through a number of checkpoints and back to our original location, apart from my syndicate who did not. We made a critical error in calculating our bearings, resulting in 2 hours of searching for our first checkpoint before it was time to head back! It is safe to say that we wont make that mistake again. As has now become standard, we then headed back to camp by way of a 4 mile march, which pushed a lot of us out of our comfort zone as the pace increased and our already sapped legs began to fail us. Nevertheless we made it back to CTCRM and, after a hard day we all couldn’t wait to get into bed and start our weekend.