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CCF Self-Reliance Expedition

CCF Self-Reliance Expedition

Bright and early on Saturday morning in half-term, 65 recruits arrived for the start of our two-day Self-Reliance Expedition across the North Downs, covering around 38km across the two days. We started off with some preparation at school in our sections before we set off, practising the skills we would need, and planning our routes.

After the much-needed prep, the sections were released one-by-one in high spirits to their first checkpoints, carrying all our kit – tents and all – on our backs. Luckily, no one strayed too far from their planned route, apart from one section which ended up on the receiving end of some angry shouts as they marched down the fairway of a golf course. After some food and a short stop for lunch, all the sections carried on strong, through many a muddy trail, with all sections arriving at camp with sore feet, aching backs, but an overall feeling of great achievement. The difficulty of our trek and our pain underfoot were no obstacles to our fun throughout the evening, which included listening to the long-awaited Champions League final on transistor radios and playing some equally skilful football of our own.

With tents pitched, we faced the wonders of the ration pack, and cooking them of course. After spilling my hot water at the first attempt, I was able to “enjoy” my meal after our long walk. We played around with Capt Jones’s dog before we got to bed for some much needed rest ahead of Phase 2 of our expedition.

The next morning, we set out on our second leg tired but excited. This took us up and over the hills near Woldingham, through Whyteleafe, and finishing our route near Old Coulsdon, with some exhausted looks, painful feet and many blisters. Although the expedition was tough, walking 30,000 steps each day, I found it very rewarding and many fond and unforgettable memories were made throughout all the sections, along with a sense of pride and achievement. 

Cdt Woods-Scawen

Third Year, Army Section

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