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RN courses abound

Over the summer holidays, Lower Sixth pupil Isabelle Newton spent some of her summer holidays taking advantage of the superb opportunities offered through the CCF.  Her report is below:

‘This summer holidays I took part in two camps through the CCF. My first was the RN CCF Senior Leadership which I went on with Will Meikle. The camp was based at Raleigh in Plymouth, the Navy’s training centre for non-officers. On arrival at the base, we handed in forms and were sent up to our rooms to unpack. I was sharing with four girls from one school and three from another who were the girls on my course. Our week consisted of lectures, a daily assault course, hours of drill, orienteering in a thunder storm at the national park and, of course, PLTs (practical leadership tasks). One of my favourite activities was a morning at the DRIU (Damage Repair Instruction Unit) which is a replica of a part of the inside of a navy ship. Once inside and briefed, you are hit by a ‘tornado’ which causes the ‘ship’ to vibrate and then sway, and the lights to turn off. Huge gushes of water then start spraying into all the rooms, filling them up rapidly. Our job was to grab hammers and wood and fix all the holes left by the tornado. 
My second camp was a RM/RN adventurous training which was based at Rothiemurchus, near Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands. It was a none-day camp but with two days travelling, so we did a week’s worth of activities. As I was the only one from Eastbourne going, I was very lucky to have met two people on my leadership course whom I met in London with whom I travelled.
On the first full day, we were given lots of equipment that we would need through the week (most importantly midge nets). We then drove down to the loch near to our lodge for a day of training and preparation. This consisted of spending two hours checking that we could safely ride a bike, that we knew how to check for damage to our bikes as well as learning some mountain-biking positions and techniques. We then learnt how to use our trangia stoves, how to set up tents in different ways, what berries we could eat in the area, and how to map-read correctly with and without a compass. To finish off the afternoon, we did a few hours kayaking, which ended in our swim test in the 12-degrees water.
The next two days my group spent mountain-biking, with a night’s camping in the middle. The following two days were spent kayaking along a river to the same campsite, spending a freezing night in soggy tents, and then returning along the river to our lodge. Our sixth day was spent climbing Ben Macdui, the second tallest mountain in Britain, followed by Irn-Bru in a local café. We were supposed to camp that night, however a huge storm meant we spent the night in our lodge. 
The final day, because of cancelled activities, we went to the local town, Aviemore, where we visited some local shops and a park. The rest of the day was spent packing and playing very competitive card games.
I would really recommend these camps to anyone interested in experiencing outdoor activities, excitement, new friends and experiences. 
I had a really fantastic and productive summer.’