Overseas Camp - Cyprus
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By Cpl R Smillie - 2431 (Keighley) Squadron
On Wednesday 16th July 2014, Cpl Smillie from 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC, set off for a 10 Day Overseas Camp at RAF Troodos in Cyprus.
The application process involved completing all of the mandatory activity TG21 consent forms and a personal statement, suggesting why I should be chosen to attend this camp.
In April 2014, I was delighted to receive confirmation that I had secured a place on a 10 Day Adventure Training (AT) Camp in Cyprus. I honestly believed I did not have a chance!
The camp lasted a total of 10 Days.
Day 1 –
I left home at 08:00 (BST) for the railway station. I got on a train to Leeds and met up with 2 other cadets from our Wing that were attending the camp. We journeyed on to Birmingham International Airport, where we met up with the 1 other member of our Wing and the rest of the camp cadets and staff. Our Monarch Airlines Flight departed at 14:10 (BST) and was due to land at Larnaca at 20:55 (Local Time), however we diverted to Athens, Greece for an hour or so due to a disruptive passenger. When we eventually got there we took a coach journey up into the Troodos Mountains.
Day 2 –
Day 2 started with Breakfast in the Troodos Combined Mess and then a briefing from the Camp Commander (Camp Com). Once all the formalities had taken place we had the Camp Photo taken. After the photo, we split up into our flights and carried out a Famex. This exercise is designed to get to know the people you are with and gain an understanding of where you are. After lunch, we went down the mountain slightly to the Skylight Pool complex to complete our Swimming Tests. This test was to ensure that we were competent swimmers for when we went into the water throughout the various activities. The day was concluded with a few little Icebreaker exercises.
Day 3 –
This was the first day of proper activities. Each flight did a different activity each day. On Day 3, my flight went down the mountain to RAF Akrotiri to do Scuba Diving and Waterskiing. The Scuba Diving was amazing! Unfortunately it was too windy for us to go Waterskiing. Instead we went to the Akrotiri Physical Training (PT) Flight and played a variety of sports. Then we went off to a small remote Army Barracks, about 15 minutes from Akrotiri, to visit the DCCT. The DCCT (Dismounted Close Combat Trainer) is basically a close combat weapons simulator. Cadets took it in turns to carry out 2 different missions using an SA80 rifle.
Day 4 –
On Day 4 of the camp we all went down to the RAF Akrotiri Water sports Club. We took part in 2 main activities which were, Banana Boat and Stealth Ring Riding. These were both great rides and you really had to hold on! We were also allowed to go for a swim and sunbathe. We then had our dinner at the Akrotiri Mess and headed for the Bowling alley.
Day 5 –
Day 5 began with an interesting visit to some old Roman Ruins near the town of Kurion. These ruins included a Coliseum and preserved mosques. We all then got back into our 7 vehicle strong convoy and headed for Akrotiri. There we went Karting. First of all we had to watch a video detailing all the Health & Safety information and Flag indications. We then put on our Fire-Retardant suits, balaclavas and helmets. We were then off. In groups of 4 we raced around the track under a 6 minute time limit. It must be said, I was not very good at Karting as I came off the track and caused a 4 minute delay. After everyone had been Karting we went back up the mountain to Troodos and watched a movie in the cinema.
Day 6 –
This was another day of activities. My flight was selected to go Sailing and Canoeing at Dhekelia Military Base. However half way down the mountain, the bus broke down. So we had to wait an hour and a half as a replacement was found. It was just before lunch time when we got to Dhekelia, therefore we do not have enough time to go both Sailing and Canoeing. However we made do with an hour or so of Canoeing. Our Canoeing instructor was a RAF Regular PT Instructor. We then had some time to sunbathe before lunch at the mess.
Day 7 –
Day 7 was another action packed day of activities. This time, my flight was doing Rock Climbing and Trail Walking. We went about 15 minutes down the mountain to our climbing point, which was a 30 feet high gorge, with a small river running through it. It was a stunning picture. Our instructor for the day was an RAF Regular AT Instructor. After setting all the equipment up, we were given a brief and a demonstration. I volunteered to be the demo and the first climber. I found this rather fun. I got a real sense of achievement as I completed all 3 of the set climbs. As well as climbing we did a few leadership exercises and a trail walk. The trail walk was called the Artemis Trail and included some stunning scenery of the Cypriot Mountains.
Day 8 –
The last few days of the camp were chill out days. This was the first. We travelled down to Larnaca to have a day at Water World. This is the biggest Water Park in Cyprus with lots of thrilling rides. We then had a private pool, meal and disco booked at a hotel in Feggaropetra. Our lovely meal was accompanied by some great tunes and a lot of having fun in the pool.
Day 9 -
On Day 9 we went on a Party Boat that allowed you to jump into the sea. This was very cold. But after a while, you got used to it. There were also Magic Shows, Acrobatics and a BBQ. Once we had returning to port in Paphos we were allowed some free time to wander around the shops.
Day 10 –
On our final day of camp, we went down to RAF Akrotiri again to do some Waterskiing. This was because we were the only flight who had not done so. It took a bit of time, but eventually I got the hang of it. We then returned to Troodos, where we sorted out Paper plate awards, refunds and got ready to depart for the airport. At 21:55 (Local Time) we departed Larnaca, touching down at Birmingham at 01:10 (BST). I then journeyed back up to Yorkshire with 2 other cadets from our Wing and returned home at about 09:30 (BST).
Overall this camp was the best thing I have ever done! Not just in cadets, but my whole life so far. The things we got to do were just incredible. I have learnt many new skills and met so many new friends. I am hoping to apply for a camp at RAF Akrotiri next year, so that I can experience it all over again.
For more information please visit the Squadron website