Exercise MOUNTAIN GOAT
For most visitors to the Lake District all they ever see is cloud but for the chosen ones of Logistics (Supply) Training Squadron they were blessed with the best weather of the year with stunning sunshine all week.
In May last year, I came up with the idea to organise an Adventurous Training (AT) week for Supply & Movements Training Wing personnel based here at Halton, to visit the wonderful surroundings of the Lake District. After gaining authority from OC Logistics & Supply Training Squadron; Squadron Leader Jamie Cameron, the project was given the green light by HQ Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration in Deepcut. Utilising past experience, I was able to acquire free of charge, the Ambleside Hut, which is an Army owned dormitory style building, located perfectly in the heart of the Lakes in Ambleside. Land clearance was sought and our itinerary and routes approved. Military Training Squadron (MTS) at RAF Halton kindly sourced two qualified instructors, Squadron Leaders Joe Goodwin (OC MTS) and Leigh Posthumous (RAF Brize Norton) to provide the specialist instructional guidance for the week.
After loading two MT vehicles with personal equipment and mountain bikes, loaned from the Burnett Gym, we set off on the long journey north. Pooling together our allowances, we stopped to collect the rations required for the duration from ASDA in Kendal. The Ambleside Hut, although very basic with 12 bunk beds, toilets, a shower and small kitchen, was more than adequate for us to use as our base for the week. However, we were soon faced with our first challenge, as we realised that were no pots and pans to cook with! This was not a problem for us “Loggies” and we approached the landlord of a local Public House and were able to borrow two big cooking pots and utensils for the week! A duties rota was arranged for all participants, irrespective of rank, which included making breakfast, packed lunches and evening meals. In these shared, close knit living conditions the group soon gelled together with everyone mucking in.
Day two saw us head out on foot from Ulswater on the scenic route towards the Kirkstone Pass. All in all, we were out for over 7 hours in unusually hot, sunny weather. Although the walk was completed at a relatively leisurely pace, it was still hard work in the heat. Our evening meal and a few glasses of wine soon re-energised us ready for Day three, a planned mountain bike activity in the Whinlatter Forest near Keswick. A fantastic day was had by all as we completed one specialist mountain bike route before lunch and then a more testing route in the afternoon. At one stage we were over 1600ft in altitude above Keswick, with fantastic views seen across the area! Again, this was another testing day, especially for the less experienced mountain bikers amongst us, however it was again extremely rewarding.
Day four saw us make the short journey towards Langdale, where we were able to explore the “Cathedral Caves”, taking in some fantastic underground sights. After a quick sandwich, we were back in the mini bus heading north towards Borrowdale. Our destination was the Honister Slate Mine, which hosts Via Ferrata, an activity where you attach yourself with karabiners to a line, climbing up and down the side of the Slate Mountain. Unfortunately, the zip wires were under refurbishment, however it was still an enjoyable experience. This rounded off a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable week, one I would recommend to any other sections considering an AT week.