3 September 2019

The 2019 central camp was the best camp I have been on with CCF so far. On the first day, (Sunday) we arrived at school early for a kit inspection and packed our bergens and webbing into a trailer. Then we travelled the long distance to Crowborough, stopping off for lunch on the way. When we arrived, we had our introduction to the camp and were shown our accommodation. After that we had free time till dinner, then it was lights out.

On the second day, (Monday) we started early to a surprisingly warm shower, had breakfast and then had another brief about the SUSAT scope and the safety aspects of the camp. Then we had paintball which was very enjoyable as you would use your training to advance on the enemy that were firing back at you. Then we had clay pigeon shooting and then the 25 m range with the SUSAT scope, which was a very good experience. Then we had the obstacle course that was very challenging but really good fun.

On the third day, (Tuesday) we had adventure training. In the morning, after breakfast, we were bussed to a lake where we did kayaking and did a test for the SBS (Special Boat Service). This led to all of us falling in the water which was surprisingly warm considering, the wet suits definitely helped! Then we were told to make a raft in 30 minutes. It really tested our communication and interpersonal skills. After that we took off our wetsuits and had lunch. After lunch we went mountain biking through the woods. It was quite tiring as we would bike up hills and then go down the steepest and narrowest paths.

On the fourth day, (Wednesday) we did vehicle check points where we learnt how to assess a situation and how to react to a person's behaviour. This was great fun as the people who we stopped always gave the worst alibis. We also did an amazing escape room and when we unlocked all the padlocks we had to crawl through a maze of tunnels then we had to do another task to get free. After that we did an amazing ambush on a base where many blank rounds were fired and our ability to follow orders under pressure was tested. Following this we had our 24-hour exercise where we had to stay hidden from enemy vans driving around and patrol to a base several kilometres away. However, after being given orders by our Section Commander we ended up walking in the wrong direction therefore we hijacked Sqn Ldr Cottam’s truck and had a lift to our campsite. The campsite was under the forest’s canopy, hot and dusty, so with moral low, Captain Edwards bought some dominoes. We went to bed in our uncomfortable bashers but with bellies full of hot pizza. Yum!

The fifth day, (Thursday) is a blur in my mind due to sleep deprivation however I do remember intense emergency response to a casualty in the morning. This is where we were tested on our first aid skills and taught how to apply a tourniquet to a patient. Then we were taught how to extract a casualty. After that we were allowed to use weapons that were used centuries ago by soldiers. After lunch we learnt about ambushes and how to execute the perfect ambush. The ambush was really intense as you weren't allowed to move or talk you just had to wait for the tug line to move. After that we had route clearing and TIBUA where we had to clear a compound of enemies and find a computer drive. After the long day we cleaned our rifles. But due to the lack of sleep it took a while and someone even got flannelette stuck in their barrel. Luckily Capt Edwards was able to remove it. We all fell asleep straight away, which I can only put down to the arduous 2 days we had just endured.

On the sixth day, (Friday) it was competition day where all our skills were put to the test. I took part in the obstacle course, weapon parts and knowledge of it, the 25m range and drill. Our contingent won third place and won many separate awards. That night we packed up and got ready to go home.

Saturday morning, we woke early and got to cleaning and making sure our rooms and stores were ready for hand back to the CTT. We were assigned to the ablutions so we had to make them spotless, which wasn't easy. When we finished cleaning we loaded the trailer and got ready for a room inspection. After that we got into the trucks and headed home. For me it was a hugely enjoyable camp, one that I will remember for the rest of my time at CCF.

Written by Henry Beer

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