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Rutland Air Cadets Scale New Heights in The Derbyshire Peaks

Article posted: May 17, 2013 by Sqn Ldr Utting

Recently Cadets from 2248 (Rutland) Sqn threw themselves into a demanding Adventure Training (AT) camp near Matlock over a long weekend.
Cadets and staff from the squadron camped out in the wilds of Derbyshire to undertake a busy and demanding AT programme. After pitching camp on a windy hillside late on the Friday night, the adventurous cadets were ready for two days of non-stop action.
The programme started early Saturday morning when the cadets met their instructors from ‘Focus Activities’ they then split into two groups and embarked on their respective activities.
The first group climbed onto a rocky escarpment and started ‘Weaselling’ , which was described by one of the instructors as ‘Pot-Holing above ground’. The idea is to move across the rocky features by crawling through as many nooks & crannies as possible. Most cadets decided that they could not get through the holes when they first saw them, but were amazed to discover just what is possible when you give it a go!
After the weaselling, the cadets moved onto abseiling down the rocks. The abseiling started on gentle slopes to master the techniques required then the group moved onto steeper and steeper slopes, eventually resulting in the group abseiling down a vertical cliff face. Cadet Jordan Adams, 15 of Oakham said, ‘There is no way I’m going down that cliff, I hate heights’. But within the hour Jordan was abseiling down the cliff to the cheers and applause of the rest of the group.

The other group meanwhile was scaling another rock face, learning how to rock climb. The cadets soon realised the importance of teamwork as they all had a role to play just to get one of them safely up the rock face. One of the most important jobs was the person operating the Belay which ensured the climber did not fall if they slipped.
After lunch the groups swapped over and tried the other activities. At the end of the day the exhausted groups went back to camp for a hot meal and an early night!
On day two, one group headed off to Carsington Water to spend the morning canoeing while the other group headed underground to explore an abandoned lead mine.
On the water the cadets learned how to handle a two-man Canadian canoe which most found tricky at first but soon got the hang of it. They progressed so quickly that they were soon chasing balls thrown in by the instructor, playing a game similar to water polo, in canoes.

The pot-holing group started by walking up one of the steep Derbyshire hills before going underground. The cadets learnt that the abandoned lead mine was dug out completely by hand a couple of hundred years ago which amazed everyone that something so big could be created by hammer and chisel.
The cadets explored the many shafts and tunnels and had to use their ‘weaselling’ skills to get through some very tight gaps. They each took it in turn to lead the rest of the group through the cave systems, under the supervision of the instructor. Cadet Yasmin Makinde,14 of Oakham said; ‘The most exciting part of being underground was leading everyone else down the tunnels in the dark, I didn’t know what was in front of me, it was completely black’.

After a full day of activities the cadets headed back to camp to pack everything away before going home. Everyone agreed that it was a really busy and exhausting, but fun weekend.