On arrival at Rough Close, we were marched down to the field where we would be staying for the next 2 days. After a "quick" tour of Rough Close (where and where not to go), we were assigned into one of 5 Flights, each of which was designated a tent. We were then given time to get to know other members of our flights before unpacking our sleeping bags and going to sleep.
The next day, we were all promptly awake by 7.00am and ready to be marched down to the toilets to wash ourselves. After cooking our own breakfasts (using various cookers from a tranga stove to a gas cooker!), we were inspected at 9.00 before heading off to our lessons as flights.
On Saturday, we had 5 lessons, each covering one topic:
. Communication - Basic hand signals (so that we could communicate without talking)
. Navigation - How to set maps and compasses and how to measure a pace.
. Camouflage - How to apply cam cream properly for use at night and day and how to hide effectively (e.g. using natural material to cover non-camouflaged areas of your body - boots)
. Shelters - Looking at various types of shelter (all built using ponchos and bungee cords) and how to construct and camouflage them.
. Cooking - The advantages and disadvantages of various cookers, how to light a fire using wood and no matches and how to use a tranga stove.
The day ended with a 2-hour long inter-flight night exercise (from camp, we had to use a map to find a part of a dummy missile and bring it back to camp), which required the new knowledge gained from the lessons to be completed (e.g. communication would have to be made using hand signals). Every flight completed the exercise by midnight. Afterwards, we all drank soup beside a large fire lit after the exercise and went back to our tents by 1.00am.
On Sunday, after waking up, washing up and eating, we were marched to another field in Rough Close and given a day-exercise (an inter-flight "competition"), which involved building a shelter and making a brew using a tranga stove in 1 hour before we would have to make our way back to camp in another hour (by midday) (to test our new-gained knowledge). Once again every flight accomplished this, though some did this quicker than others. So, after packing our bags and picking all litter off the field, we were marched out of Rough Close.
Thank you to everyone from 8F Squadron for organizing such an enjoyable and informative weekend.