Friday, 25 July 2008

The longest post IN THE WORLD!

I spent much of yesterday dividing my 300 photos up into neat categories to make uploading easier. How very organised of me.
There are so many fantastic photos, but I know noone really wants to see them all.

Field and Enemy
I basically spent my first week doing weapons training, before deploying to Dartmoor for the Field Exercise. As a 3rd year with no command position, I played The Enemy - basking in the comfort of being non-tactical. We had an ace time; a really good laugh. Although it wasn't as easy as the Friendly Forces believe... I walked a good few miles each day! Considering we had to repeatedly visit sites we knew they were observing (to give them something to observe), and each visit was a 3mile round trip. We were also the only ones that actually slept in the field, as the rest of them were harboured up in a farmhouse! However, I'm not complaining; I loved it. Especially the dressing up.

Fancy Dress & Mess Nights

Annual Camp wouldn't be the same without the copious amounts of alcohol drunk throughout the 2weeks. We work hard, and we play harder. Of course it has resulted in me making myself horrendously ill, but I'd do it all the same.
This year's fancy dress theme was Disney, and I was so impressed with the effort that was put in by everyone! I was the Lion King, but there was a representative from nearly every film!

As I said in my last post; most nights I left the mess well after my friends... That meant it was usually light by the time I got into bed. The last picture is Kim and I wandering home at 5.30am, to get into bed only to be woken at 6.30am to go cycling.

Adventurous Training
We went... Kayaking, cycling, hiking, rock-climbing and abseiling. Some people got the chance to scuba dive, but there were limitted places and they weren't interested in 3rd years so I missed out.
For the record; I absolutely hate mountain biking. Ever since first year when Hannah and I cried, I've had a mental block on mountain biking. Cycling, I'm fine with. Give me a road and I'll happily plod along. But stick me on a bike on rough terrain going up and down hills and I will hate you forever. To make matters worse, it was just after a heavy night in the mess which had ended with Steve getting wasted and laying into me. It was not a good day.
Abseiling/rock-climbing was ace, despite the awful weather! We were abseiling off cliffs in the fog so we couldn't see the bottom, and climbing up rocks that were resembling waterfalls as the rain poured off the sides of them.
Kayaking was also fantastic and the best hangover cure. I think I was still drunk when I climbed in my boat! I discovered I have a bit of a knack for it. I think it's due to my good sense of balance. However, I did capsize once, in the middle of the lake where there was nowhere for me to climb out and empty my kayak. I have no idea how I managed it, and noone saw me actually go under. I planned to carry out the drills properly (staying under, hitting the top of the kayak) but as soon as my head crashed under the water panic hit me and I ripped off my spray deck to escape! Oops. Maybe next time.
The hike was lovely too. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were all in high spirits. We were virtually rock-climbing though as we were going up and down glacial valleys with huge boulders.

National Treasure & Regimental Dinner
The CO is all about changing the way the army recruits people because recruiting numbers are really dropping. Basically (in my opinion) he is using us as guinea pigs to carry out his own agenda. As a result, he used us to test out his new leadership scheme that he's developing to sell to big businesses to instill leadership capabilities in their employees. We named it National Treasure, and the name stuck.
I spent the 2 days with my beloved CLG (there is a lot of back story to him, but basically he started the year as a grumpy bastard, and I've spent 2yrs trying to break him). We had an ace couple of days and I already miss him. I never though I'd say that!
The first day we manned a command task stand, where teams had to build a bridge across a river whilst blindfolded, in order to retrieve a casualty. Unfortunately, noone fell in, much to mine and CLGs disappointment! The second day, Ellie and I walked around Meldon Reservoir about 4times, running errands for various members of staff and having the most fantastic gossip/catch up/moan ever. I really feel like I got to know her properly that day, and it's quite upsetting to think that we never did that in the 3yrs we've known each other.

Then, that evening, we had my final regimental dinner with LUOTC! It wasn't as emotional as anticipated because everyone had been up since 4am and so we were exhausted. However, the food was great, the company was fantastic, and I'll remember it forever.

The next morning we left the 1st and 2nd years to clean camp, and we escaped to a little cafe in the nearby town for cream teas. It's a nice last memory to be; sitting in the sunshine and merrily eating a scone with clotted cream and jam.
It wasn't until the coaches pulled up and, one by one, people hugged me and said their goodbyes that it hit me and I got upset. Silly me; I was the only one to shed a tear! Although, in my defense, a lot of them are going surfing together in few weeks so it wasn't really goodbyes for them.
And then... Hannah and I drove off home... sob.

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