On Monday 2nd of April 2012, 53 Cadets from Central and East Region arrived at London Luton Airport at 0430hours in the morning to depart at 0700hours, flying to what we all expected to be a sunny week at RAF Gibraltar. However, when we arrived the reality proved to be pretty much the opposite. When we touched down after the two and the half hour flight we were greeted with grey skies and pouring rain, not the weather that’s usually associated with Gibraltar.
The rest of the first day was spent unpacking, and getting to know everyone. After everyone was sorted and settled in, we walked down to the town centre, which was a fair walk away from the camp. The town of Gibraltar was very much like any normal British town, complete with red telephone boxes.
Much of our first few days on camp were spent up “The Rock”. Although it may look pretty solid, the rock more closely resembles a block of Swiss cheese, as it is riddled with over 40 Miles worth of tunnels, some of which are still used by the British Armed Forces to train both Standard branches and Special Forces in close quarters combat. The sections we ventured into were the WWII tunnels, which as you can probably guess are the tunnels that were excavated from “The Rock” during WWII, the Med steps, which are a series of steps running up the side of the rock right to the top and the great siege tunnels.
As well as spending time inside the rock, we also spent a fair amount of time on top of it, and below it, visiting the Moorish castle and taking a cable car right up to the top to see the Barbary Apes, who aren’t exactly sheepish, and are always stealing peoples food, often opening peoples back packs to do so.
Down at sea level, we didn’t spend all our time in Gibraltar, we went on a coach to Isle Magicka, a Theme Park, and a Safari Park, both of which were in Spain. Some chose to go to Europa Point (most southerly point in Europe the nearest point to Africa) but some of us chose to stay in town and do some last minute shopping as most of us had forgot to buy presents through the week . We had a few trips into town to get things in the week and we also went out on a “Dolphin Adventure” tour on a boat but sadly it started raining and we didn’t see any dolphins.
Throughout the whole camp, there were only a few times when we were actually in Working Blues, and that’s when we were exploring the sections inside the confines of RAF Gibraltar. We visited the dog section, had a tour of the Air Traffic Control tower, and had demonstrations from both the Dog Section and the EOD section, more commonly known as The Bomb Squad.
As the week progressed everyone got to know each other and the people are what really make the camp. In the evenings we had time to prep our Bags for the next day or our uniform if it was required, we were also allowed down to the bar, where there was a pool table and Darts board and was where most of us spent our evenings.
On the morning of the last day everyone was feeling a bit down, but the weather was good and it helped to cheer everyone up. Unfortunately, as we had to be at the airport for 10:30 there wasn’t any time for a final activity, and so at 12:00, we set off from Gibraltar back to England.
When we got back to England everyone said their goodbyes which were quite hard as everyone made good friends but as with anyone you meet through cadets, most of us are bound to bump into each other from time to time.
So overall, it was an amazing camp and I would definitely recommend it to everyone as by the end of the week you have met so many new people and you just don’t want to leave, so get your names down, you won’t regret it.