Week 33: Churchill’s Challenge

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Churchill’s Challenge is a weeklong exercise, which explores the complexities of urban operations, most notably, peace keeping and stabilisation operations. We deal with a small amount of public order training too; for a third of this phase we are kitted up with riot gear, head to toe with batons, shields, body armour and more. But, for the other two-thirds, we get to have a crack at rioting! Nothing better than trying to beat one of your mates up!

Churchill’s is a relatively slow-paced exercise in comparison to something such as Allenby’s. The reasons for this are that there is so much to learn; it is pretty much a teaching exercise. I have no doubt that we will be fully pushed on Templar’s, which is next month and the more grown-up version of this exercise. But, for the mean time we cover: Strike Operations, Public Order, Urban Patrolling, Search (Building, Vehicle and Person), working in a FOB and the OPs room. We were also given more assets to play with, such as, working dogs and RESA.

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Week 32: Fear, Exhaustion & Pride

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Week 32, feels like we have been here forever now! The type of week that we have had is what many Officer Cadets class as the perfect week, a fine balanced mixture of physical exercises, fieldcraft, lectures and platoon lessons. We started the week with an Academy sunday, which is basically a church service that everyone turns up to. It brings a small opportunity of seeing some of my friends who are in junior term now and mostly laugh at them as they struggle to stay awake long enough to tell me how they’re doing. I also have the honour of being chosen to be one of the Commandants stick orderly’s. Still to find out the exact details of what I am to do, but so far it results in escorting various high-ranking officials to the chapel and having morning coffee with the Academy Adjutant.

We also had the inevitable senior Nav-Ex. I heard seniors talk about it with fear when I was in intermediate term, and it was pretty dreadful to be honest. It is essentially a tactical navigation exercise in which there is a set weight to carry, no description of where the check-points are, and they put various different check-points in close proximity to disturb your route. Mostly you just see camouflaged officer cadets running around in a daze across Barossa.

One difference that can be seen in the officer cadet this term is the fact that they now have a home to go to as it were. Every senior term cadet has a regiment for commissioning, and this gives everyone that well needed drive to cross the finish line. You have more to strive for than just personal pride, there is now the aspect of regimental pride, and the colour sergeants who are from your regiment remind you frequently of that when crossing paths! However, with all this extra work which now comes, there also comes the more close-knit family feeling. You become more than just a cadets at Sandhurst, you have more of an identity and your regiment or corps will grow that feeling by holding small get-togethers throughout the term. I am lucky that my regiment was in the Army Boxing finals and decided to invite me and the other two cadets who are commissioning into the regiment to come along and support. I loved it, really felt like part of a family, part of something bigger than CC153.

WEEK 10: Leadership. Management. Teamwork. Enhancing your civilian career.

71 Engineer Regiment are the Royal Engineer’s Army Reserve Regiment based across Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their Regimental Headquarters (RHQ) is based in Leuchars, Fife, and they have 3 Squadrons based in Bangor, Paisley and Cumbernauld and Troop detachments in Leuchars and Orkney.

They are paired with 39 Engineer Regiment, a Regular Unit based in Kinloss, Moray which offers fantastic training opportunities both at home and overseas.

As a Force Support Unit, 71 Engineer Regiment has a defined operational role in support of the Regular Army. Each Squadron must be able to Force Generate a troop’s worth of Force Support capability in support of training and operations as follows:

  • 102 Field Squadron – Construction Plant & Combat Infrastructure
  • 124 Field Support Squadron – Engineer Logistics Node & Combat Infrastructure
  • 591 Field Squadron – Combat Infrastructure Troop

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I’m Lt Parkes, a technology consultant at Deloitte during the week but an Army Reserve Officer in the Royal Engineers at weekends. My current role is Support Troop Commander with 591 (AA) Field Squadron based in Bangor, Northern Ireland. One of the common questions about being an Army Reserve Officer is how do you fit it around your civilian career? Well, being an Army Reserve Officer can fit around a demanding civilian career and actually enhance it in certain places.

Although the minimum commitment is only 27 days, I often find myself doing up to 50 days a year. For me this typically consists of one weekend away a month, generally in NI or Scotland where I’ll be out ‘in the field’ with the guys, and one weekend a month in the Army Reserve Centre, catching up paperwork and planning upcoming training. Generally Reservists also do one night a week in the centre as well as a two week period of continuous training each year. This will typically work on a three year rotation; one year you will attend a course which will teach you as an individual new skills, the next year will be a UK based training exercise where you’ll go away with your unit to train together, and the third year will be an overseas training exercise to confirm all the training you’ve done over the previous two years.

It is important to note that there is a great deal of flexibility with the Army Reserve. As a consultant I do a lot of travelling; my current work with a large insurance client means that I typically spend two days a week in Swindon and another two in London. Because of this I can’t attend Tuesday night training, however my Staff Sergeant can and so covers for me. I usually just have a quick phone call with him to catch up on what I’ve missed. Currently my Army boss is a Regular Officer and, as is common with any Regular Officer who works with the Reserves, they understand that your civilian career comes first and find a workable compromise.

Blog 10 4Another example of flexibility was that one of my Sergeants couldn’t get two weeks off work last year to attend an annual exercise. To get around this we organised for him to do a reduced commitment which meant that he came out for nine days (Saturday through to the Sunday of the next weekend) so that he only had to take five days leave for the Army Reserve that year.

Certain employers do give members of the Army Reserve extra time off for annual exercise; the NHS gives fifteen days extra leave a year to attend the Army Reserve and the Civil Service gives ten days a year to its staff to attend their annual exercise. However the expectation is that Reservists only have two weeks a year and training is organised accordingly.

Being a Reserve Officer will add to your CV. In my experience the biggest positive is the amount of responsibility you get given from a young age. There are very few employers who will give a person in their early twenties a team of 25-30 people to lead and manage. The Army provides excellent training on how to write your soldiers annual reports and I’ve used this training in my civilian career to help me when writing feedback for members of my team.

Blog 10 3Being an Army Reserve Officer will also reinforce existing skills. Last year I took 30 Reservists from our Squadron on a multi-national exercise in South Dakota, America as a part of a larger group of 90 Reservists from across Scotland and Northern Ireland. We worked alongside armed forces from the USA, Canada and Denmark. I was in charge of coordinating the construction of two wooden bridges for the National Park, upgrading three bridges, and constructing two fishing piers. This may seem to be very different from managing releases for a website but the underlying principles are similar.

Overall it is certainly possible to balance a Reserve Officer career and a civilian job. Other officers in my unit have a diverse range of careers ranging from teachers to lawyers, policemen, engineers and civil servants. Being a Reserve Officer will enhance your CV giving you “a second string to your bow” and helping you stand out in a competitive job market.

I would strongly recommend that anyone who is considering a career as an Army Reserve Officer go for it; you do have both the time and the energy. It will be challenging but the rewards are excellent, you’ll meet great people, travel extensively, and experience something unique.

Lt Parkes
Troop Commander, 71 Engineer Regiment
Technology Consultant, Deloitte 

Week 9 : UBIQUE 300 – Tercentenary of the Royal Artillery

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My regiment is the 104 Royal Artillery, the Army Reserves’ only Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Regiment. We’re deployed as radio operators, clerks, drivers and logisticians, and we operate Miniature Unmanned Air Systems (MUAS) Desert Hawk III to support ground operations. Our units are based in Abertillery, Newport, Worcester, Bristol and Plymouth, and it’s our honour to fire Royal Salutes in Cardiff to celebrate Royal birthdays and anniversaries.

26 May 2016 was the 300th anniversary of the Royal Artillery. It was an important day, and to mark such a prestigious occasion, the commemorative Captain General’s baton had been carried on a circumnavigation of the globe. Beginning its journey at the birthplace of the Royal Artillery in Woolwich, the baton crossed 30 countries and five continents around the globe before returning to its regimental home in Larkhill.
And I’m proud to say that our regiment had an important role to play in its journey.

On Saturday 14 May, we – 211 Battery, 104 Regt RA – were presented with the commemorative baton by the regimental mountain bike team, who had cycled from St Davids (the smallest city in Wales) to 211 Battery HQ in Abertillery. This ceremony was the beginning of our leg of journey, which saw us carry the baton through Wales.

On Sunday, we woke up bright and early at 0430hrs. After a hearty cooked breakfast, we made our way to Brecon Beacons, where we prepared to summit Pen-y-Fan – the highest peak in Brecon. It was a beautiful sunny day, with a light breeze – perfect for climbing Pen-y-Fan. I was pleased to see the entire battery complete the climb, showing good grit and determination (after some gentle encouragement).

We hit the summit at approximately 0830hrs. Then, we enjoyed the reading of a vignette by the Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Force, who had accompanied us to the top that morning. Before we began our descent, we took part in some well deserved photo opportunities.

The next stop on our journey was the coal museum at the Rhondda Heritage Park, where the Captain General’s baton was due to be passed to 266 Bty. Here, the Cwm Choir joined us in singing the Welsh national anthem to mark the occasion.

The baton was passed on to the regimental kayaking team who had paddled up the River Taff to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. From there, they met nine members of the regimental rugby team who ran the baton through the centre of Cardiff to the Ty Llewellyn Army Reserve Centre. This was where extensive preparation and rehearsals where being conducted for the main event of the day.

The sunset ceremony was held at Cardiff City Hall, with 105mm light guns fired alongside a performance of the 1812 overture by the Regimental Band of The Royal Welsh. I’m pleased to say the ceremony was a great success and was executed perfectly.

The beautiful evening drew in a large crowd who appeared to enjoy the event as much as we did. This concluded our journey of Ubique 300. I took great pride in being involved in the commemoration of such a significant milestone in the regiment’s history – we all did.

2Lt Rob Green
104 Regiment The Royal Artillery
Troop Second in Command

Week 31: The Business Side of Life

Introduction to 77 Brigade

Introduction to Human terrain and strike ops

Bayonet Fighting

First week back of senior term, fourteen weeks to push! I say that but my training will not be complete then, not by a long shot! But, I will most definitely be commissioned and out of Sandhurst! From what I have understood so far, Junior term focuses on basic soldering skills and an exposure to the orders process, whilst intermediate term looks to develop on the orders process and consider offensive and defensive operations, aka, war fighting. So what is left to study in senior term? Well during a brief it was highlighted that for the most part the British Army is not involved in war fighting. Since the Second World War, we have had some wars, but for the most part we have been involved in what is known as COIN, or counter-insurgency operations. Therefore senior term aims to focus on the contemporary operating environment.

Our orders process has now been made considerably more difficult; whereas last term we could guarantee that we would be facing an entrenched position with a T90 or BTR 80 in support which inevitably would be solved by having a javelin rocket screen for the tank, whilst a marksman fixes the enemy position and we send forth a section of highly trained infanteers to bayonet their way through the enemy, supported by a general purpose machine gun. Well, contemporary operations are not like that, we do not have the freedoms of that scenario, their is a civilian population to take into consideration, non-governmental organisations, local police forces, local insurgents and the host nations military; all of that now needs to be considered in our orders process. And when we realised that, there was not one officer cadet in the hall who sat their and it did not bother them, everyone was guaranteed to be in quaking fear of how much more difficult things were about to become!

We were also introduced to 77 Brigade, a newly formed brigade whose mission is to use non-lethal engagement and legitimate non-military levers as a means to adapt behaviours of the opposing forces and adversaries. In layman’s, defeat the enemy before the trigger necessarily needs pulling, or if failing that, loading the battle-space in our favour.

So far the week was fairly relaxed, it was admittedly briefing after briefing by various different organisations such as the red cross or experts in COIN or the media, but, there was one thing to get the adrenaline pumping in the later half of the week… Bayonet rages!

In the morning of the bayonet day the lines were filled with a selection of blood pumping music, such as ‘Let the bodies hit the floor’ or ‘War Machine’ and other classics of that nature. We were then taken to an open field lined with dummies. We spent a fair while crawling around the floor from pillar to post and then rehearsed the various different techniques of bayoneting another human being ranging from bayonet fixed on the rifle to bayonet in the hand. Then, after a series of hill sprints and hill crawls we moved onto the actual bayonet range. The range itself is not an open field. It is a tight woodblock interspersed with trenches and tunnels. It is an individual event, as you can assume, no one really wants to enter a closed woodblock with someone who has been hyped up to stab another human for the last few hours. The colour sergeants throw some abuse at you for a while, you are lying face down in the mud screaming out “KILL KILL KILL” and then you get released into the woodblock. It is a somewhat primeval event, if you remember the blog about the hunter nature that they try and install in you, then it is at this moment that you most feel it whilst charging through the woods looking for potential enemy to stab multiple times. Crawling through tunnels and trenches, they through a fair few smoke grenades and battle simulation explosions in the wood block to keep that feeling going, there is also the sound of machine gun fire raging around you. The last phase of the bayonet range involves moving silently through a stream with an enemy at the other end. For this I chose to back sling my rifle, hold my bayonet in my hand and slowly swim down the stream to creep up on the enemy position and then pounce.

Some may think that bayonets are not used anymore, truth is, if you speak to serving soldiers, they were still being used in Afghanistan, it is a primeval way to not only kill the enemy, but scare them into submission. No one wants to hang around whilst a platoon of British soldiers comes charging down on them with bayonets gleaming and a loud roar over-head. Bayonets are without doubt, the business end of our careers, they are said to be the most reliable piece of kit that we will ever be issued, and this, I certainly believe!

Week 30: Ex Calpe Cadet

April 2016 saw five Officer Cadets venture to southern Spain to scale some world class rock faces and gain their rock climbing foundation qualification. For the majority of our party we had never climbed before starting the course, and two of the five were not the most comfortable with heights.

Our course had started before we had even departed the country as we spent a day prior at an indoor climbing facility in Reading. We learnt some basic skills in b-laying and generic climbing; (there is more to it than just going up we found!) further to this we had some time to meet and get to know our instructor and just to understand the course and his own aims.

When we first arrived in Spain it was somewhat different to the drizzly parade ground we had just left and our eyes were able to scout the vast amounts of crags that the mountainsides were producing. Over the five days of climbing we slowly increased heights and difficulties. For some of us we would just about feel comfortable scrambling up a level three climb, but by the end of the week we were scaling a level six climb and that is undoubtably some achievement. We also had the chance to lead some of the climbs; leading a climb requires far more than just going up as there is no rope above you, so if you fall, you are going to fall a bit. We all found this much more fun though as it played on our daring nature somewhat more, even a level three climb could be somewhat buttock clenching.

By the end of the week we had all successfully passed the course but what matters even more, we had all been exposed to an element of fear. Remembering back to a lecture given to us by Major Whitaker RAPTC, he explained how skills learnt in AT can be used when we are doing our jobs. Few of us are ever going to be expected to assault a crag in a rather beautiful part of southern Spain, well one can hope to but, we will all be asked at some point when you are comfortable and do not want to move, we will be asked to move, whether it be jumping out of an airplane door, running into a building or getting out of a trench. I am by no means saying that the two events are parallel, but more rather that some of the foundations could be transferable; the courage it takes to move that hand from a very safe place up onto the next cliff edge can be somewhat terrifying when you look down at a thirty meter drop. We definitely gained a lot.

Week 8: Dhaulagiri Expedition

The Dhaulagiri Expedition was created and led by Surgeon Commander Adrian Mellor from the Defence Medical Group. The aim was to research how we can better prepare our military personnel for deployment to high altitude environments. 150 personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force participated, split into 10 teams. Some of these ascended to high altitudes, whereas our team remained at a lower altitude. Prior to leaving the UK we were required to carry out apnoea training to help our bodies adapt to high altitude and other research, which was conducted at Leeds Becket University. In Nepal we visited three base camps at different altitudes along the Dhaulagiri Circuit, where blood tests and physiological parameters such as oxygen saturations, spleen size and blood pressure were recorded. It was hypothesised that the apnoea training would aid personnel in adapting to altitude and this research will reveal how the body copes. This will ultimately aid Defence, as we may be able to assist Service personnel to adapt to altitude before they deploy on operations or training in mountainous areas.

29 Apr 16 Beni to Barbang (3 hour bus ride and 3 hour trek)

Today was the first day of our trek – we were all full of excitement and nerves! Everyone slept well and had a hearty breakfast. After a bone rattling 3 hour ride we met our team of Sherpas and commenced our trek. From this point everything exceeded our expectations. The Sherpas were very hospitable, catered to our every need and carried extremely heavy packs that left all of our group in awe. The views were spectacular as well. After following a meandering river for 3 hours we arrived at our first camp where we were very well catered for. We were even treated to an evening dance from locals, which was a lot of fun! After some evening banter, the team decided we should select a Nepalese word to represent each day. Today’s word is ‘Mitho’ which means delicious.

30 Apr 16 Barbhang-Camp 2 (6 hour trek)

This was our first full trekking day, the weather was superb! We trekked through the valley on narrow paths and the scenery did not disappoint. A number of our junior members were eager to do some navigation and map reading along the way. Spirits were high despite a few toileting mishaps and upset stomachs after lunch! Terrain was undulating and once we arrived everyone had a much needed cooling off in the river. Again the team had an early night after sharing jokes over our evening meal. Today’s word is ‘Ramru’ which is apt for the scenery.

1 May 16 Camp 2- Burgha (5 hour trek with 500 metre ascent)

We all woke bright and early with the team all fit and well. After last evening’s brief we expected to be trekking for 3.5 hours with familiar terrain. Suffice it to say the journey turned into a 5 hour journey with a 500 metre ascent which proved to be tough in the heat. Even more so for the porters, however, no heads dropped! After being fed very well the last few days the team were pleased to burn off the calories and relished the challenge. Plus, the views kept getting better and better, and we were kindly provided bottles of pop by locals along the way. On arrival to Bager camp, the porters and our team played cricket, thanks to Lieutenant Crooks who had bought a cricket bat in Kathmandu. Giving that we kept moving onwards and upwards…today’s word is ‘Jahu Jahu’ which means ‘go go’!

2 May 16 Burgha-Doban (900 metre Ascent)Team 2

This morning we were woken by a persistent cockerel who continued cock-a-doodling through breakfast! The landscape began to change and we set off alongside the valley into a forested area. Humidity was high and there was a lot of steep terrain that the team tackled. Once again, our motivation was not dampened, with Lt Colonel Attwood and Major Johnson concocting medical scenarios for our team to solve and other members assigning call names to their buddies! Lt Robbie ‘Black Custard’ Crooks at one point proclaimed that joining the Reserves was ‘the best thing he had ever done’, which we all agreed with! On the way we encountered fellow expedition members from team 6 who sadly had to turn back due to acute mountain sickness. Fortunately after descending both trekkers returned to full health. Today’s word was ‘Dandibad’ which means thank you.

3 May 16 Doban-Sallaghari (Altitude-3120 metres)

Today’s trek brought a significant change in scenery, altitude and temperature. We progressed from a hot and humid environment into a much cooler one. Sergeant Major Fisher educated our juniors about military skills along the way to pass the time! At lunch our wise and helpful Chief, Sirdar Sonam, advised that we should make hasty progress as the weather was becoming more unpredictable with the higher altitude. The afternoon brought thunder and thankfully only a light sprinkle of rain. After reaching camp, down jackets were deployed and river bathing was no longer an option! Despite this we were greeted by amazing views as we caught our first glimpse of snowy mountain peaks which made everyone very excited.

Team 14 May 16 Sallaghari-Italian Basecamp (3,600m)

Today was a big milestone for the team as we were trekking to our first basecamp! Our Chief, Sirdar Sonam, emphasised that because we were entering high altitudes we would keep to a slow steady walk in order to let our bodies acclimatise. More and more snowy peaks emerged into the foreground as we moved towards the first basecamp. So far so good: aside from headaches and some mild light headedness the team has been coping well! After celebrating and meeting the research team, everyone began sorting out their field administration. The weather turned cold and wet so the team relaxed over the afternoon with hot brews. We also fitted in a game of rounders which proved tough at high altitude. Communications to Dhaulagiri Basecamp were made and an acclimatisation walk has been planned for tomorrow.

5 May 16 (Italian Basecamp rest day)

Well, today was a washout… not that this stopped us in any way! On the morning we did an acclimatisation walk near camp up to 4000 me
tres which was enjoyed by all. We got brief views of the stunning landscape on the way down and all the team coped well, no signs of mountain sickness so far. This helped ease our nerves and increase our confidence in tackling the challenges ahead. The rain continued all through the day with snow showers intermittently but the team still managed to get all of the medical research done;although many of our spleens had shrunk with the cold! Still, as usual, we were amazed at the porters who were walking around in flip flops and shorts. That night we prepared for our trek to Japanese basecamp tomorrow. Today’s word is “pani paro” which means rain…

6 May 16 Italian Basecamp to Japanese Basecamp

The team were up bright and early as it was Corporal Smith’s birthday! After some celebrations and farewells we set off for our next camp. The weather was great and we passed through a very scenic valley en-route, with our helmets donned. The trek took much longer than expected and the weather began to turn much colder as we ascended alongside a glacier. After asking our Chief Sonam if we were there yet, several hills later we reached camp, much to the team’s relief! Overall the team were feeling well, with only a few headaches. After food the team went to their tents when we heard a thunderous rumbling…when we all got outside we could see across the valley there was a big avalanche! Although it was fascinating to watch, it was also a reminder about the dangers of trekking in in this environment. Today’s word is “janma din”, meaning “happy birthday”

7 May 16 Japanese Basecamp- Dhaulagiri Basecamp.

The weather this morning was superb! Most of the team were trekking in t shirts or thin tops. Morale was high and we all exchanged stories about the avalanches we heard overnight. At one point at 01.30 the porters had cleared our tents of snow and Lt Colonel Attwood and Corporal Smith thought it was an avalanche! They adopted brace positions and started shouting out to the team, which made us all laugh. We took a slow steady pace to the next camp, the weather once again got colder and some of the team had headaches. Still, on arrival we were amazed at how big Dhaulagiri Basecamp was, it was like a small town! It was nice to speak to other trekkers and meet the high altitude team. We all had another early night after using wifi! Today’s word is “swagatam” which means “you’re welcome”.

8 May 16-Rest day

We woke up to fantastic weather the sun was beaming but it was very chilly. This morning we conducted important medical research before departing for an acclimatisation walk. On the walk many of us were caught out by the sun despite multiple applications of factor 50 and were subsequently burnt. Lessons were learnt for tomorrow’s trek! Many photos were taken, as Dhaulagiri and its glaciers were looming spectacularly over camp. The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up on sleep. Weather was definitely a deciding factor for the trek to Hidden Valley, with Surgeon Commander Mellor reporting that it had been unpredictable lately. We opted to trek out tomorrow if weather allowed, but for now it was a waiting game! Today’s word is “didi”, an affectionate term used by the Sherpas which means “sister”.

9 May 16- Dhaulagiri Basecamp- Hidden Valley

The team had a very early start and thankfully the weather was perfect. We trekked up towards French Pass over the next few hours, the highest point in our expedition. Once the team hit 5000 metres, trekking became difficult as our breathlessness increased and altitude sickness began two strike some of the team members. Still, we rallied together and pushed over the French Pass successfully which we were elated about. After hitting 5378 metres, the highest point of the trek, everyone was relieved! From then we had a nice decent into the Hidden Valley Basecamp, arriving just before the snow blizzard hit. We greeted familiar faces from the research team before conducting more medical research. We have decided to not have a rest day here in the hope that this weather window remains good. The team can sense the end is near…the lack of showers is beginning to become evident! “Chisho” is today’s word, as it was freezing!

10 May 16 Hidden Valley-Yak Kharka

Another bright and early start for the team. Some last minute research was conducted before we departed. Some members were feeling the effects of altitude but it was nothing our team couldn’t handle. We received news that Team 10 had to turn back and so we made a hasty start so that we could avoid the incoming weather system. The first 4 hours went very well, the team were in high spirits and we made good progress. However, by the afternoon we were hit by a snow blizzard which created white-out conditions. This was difficult for the porters, we don’t know how they managed! After being pounded by the wind and snow, we made a hasty retreat down the mountain to camp, thankfully everyone arrived safe and well. We decided that today’s word was “cheers”, which is also Nepalese!

11 May 16- Yak Kharka-Civilisation!

Everyone was offered a lie in the night before but we got up early in the end! We were all excited at the prospect of showering, having a toilet and sleeping in a proper bed. After an alfresco breakfast we sped off down the hill. The temperature increased rapidly and we were soon in t shirts and shorts, something that had been a distant memory! We finally completed our trek as a team; it was a great moment for everyone. When we arrived at our hotel we had our first beer in 14 days and a shower which was amazing. We ventured out to a local town nearby and the excitement still hadn’t ended for us. An overturned truck blocked the road and we all scampered out of our bus to turn it back over. We spent the rest of the evening celebrating with the Sherpas and relaxing. Today’s word is something invented by 201 Field Hospital, which is “blip blap”, our word for foreign currency!

12 May 16 Marpha to Pokhara

From here our R&R begins and we said a sad goodbye to all of our porters. We have some great memories and couldn’t thank them enough for all of their efforts. We all packed into jeeps where our bones were rattled for the next 6 hours to Beni and then even more when we got onto the bus to Pokhara. Suffice it to say after 12 hours we were all weary and desperate to stretch our legs!

Our adventure has come to an end and we intend to spend a few days relaxing before our flight home. It has been a fantastic experience, many thanks to Surgeon Commander Adrian Mellor for making this possible. On behalf of the team many thanks also to Lieutenant Colonel Attwood and the senior officers who organised this at 201 (Northern) Field Hospital. Here’s to more adventures in the future!

Team 3

Blog created by the team from 201 (Northern) Field Hospital, based out of Newcastle Upon Tyne. The unit comprises: Medical and Surgical Doctors at all levels, RN (Adult) in all specialities, Radiographers, Operating Department Practitioners (ODP), Biomedical Scientists (BMS), Physiotherapists, Paramedics, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians, Health Care Assistants (HCA), Dentists, Dental Support Specialist, Medical Nursing and Allied Health Professional Students (AHP), Chefs, Drivers and Clerical Staff (HR).