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12,080 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
The weekend started on Friday night at our Mountain Rescue HQ in Bridgend, we packed up all the vehicles and left for the base at Penwyllt.

When we arrived we were given a briefing and told what was expected of us over the weekend. We were told, You are a specialist demolition team who have been sent in to destroy a bridge controlled by a hostile government. Your task is to collect items on the way to the target that will aid you with your mission. Opposition forces have been sent to compromise your position. You are allowed to carry digital cameras, these are to take covert photographs of opposing forces which will then be used as evidence in the UN council that meets next week. You are to remain tactical and covert at all times, the teams were:~

Cherry Berries -
Dave, who is a very experience mountain rescuer and mountaineer. Has been involved in mountain rescue for over 30 years
Jo - one of our medical students and a probationary member of the team he will be assessed for full membership next month has some mountaineering experience
Mike - another medical student and a probationary member like Jo to be assessed next month
Gareth - a physicist at Cardiff uni. Gareth is one of our new trained members who passed his assessment in February.
Paul - PW Cymru from UKGSER and the stand in for the raffle prize winner. Paul has done a bit of walking but this was a new experience for him.

Camillas Gorillas
Wesley - Wes is a very experienced mountaineer and mountain rescuer. Wes had quite a bit military experience from his time in the army
Nick - another of our med students to be assessed next month
Leighton - an outdoor pursuit instructor and one of our newer trained members
Richie - a police officer for south wales police and has been a trained member within the team for many years
Sharri - a nurse I have been involved in mountain rescue for 15 years. I hadn’t planned to be on the hill because of my knee but unfortunately one of the lads dropped out so I decided to see what I could do my knee splint on.

Sneaky Beakys (the old farts who got who got to sleep in beds all weekend)
Jason - A forklift truck engineer and the Mountain Rescue team leader. Jason is the brains behind the planning of the weekend and would be co-ordinating all of the sneaky beakys.
Selwyn - An IT man, one of our deputy team leaders and lots of experience in mountain rescue.
Nick - nick works for the forestry commision and is one of our teams search managers
Mike - (Mabel's Old Man to you) Mikey is retired now but has been invovled in MR for 20 years
Ceri - a police officer who has been involved in Mountain rescue for many years

Cherry Berries and Camillas Gorrillas were also told that we would have supply drops on route and were only allowed to leave with what we were wearing. The only things we were allowed to take were a torch, compass, water, knife and waterproofs. We were searched before we were allowed into the vehicles.

Obviously there were attempts to hide some little snacks and other goodies, some found some not :aidan
Into the vehicles with the windows blacked out we had no idea where we were being driven.

From here I can only tell my account of the weekend as we had no further contact with the other team until the finish. So we were bundled into the Landrover, with no clue where we were headed. After about 40 minutes the vehicle stopped and the back door opened. We were handed an envelope which contained instructions and a photocopy of an OS map with place names removed. It was about 7 inches long and 1 inch wide. Our drop off point was marked as was our first kit drop. We had a 7km walk across the mountains to get there. It was 10pm, dark but it was fairly bright in the moonlight so we waited for the vehicle to leave and then sorted out our kit. Between us we had managed to smuggle 5 choccie bars, 2 bags of nuts, 2 bags of berries and Wesley had somehow managed to get a GPS through the search – but with no grid figures on the map and no clue where we were it wasn’t much use.

We took our bearing and started to move, wary that the sneaky beakys knew where we were and where we were headed. The first route was fairly easy to start with later on the ground became quite wet and uneven but on the whole the going with good ground and the moonlight made navigation easier. It took us until 3am to get to our point which we approached with some care as it was the ideal point for the Sneakies to catch us. It look clear so we grabbed the drop bags and ran for the forestry which was just a couple of hundred metres away. We hid in the trees to open the bags and see what we had been given. Inside there were 2 rucksacs containing a waterbottle, water sterilising tablets, 5 bivvy bags, a box of rolled oats, a roll of cooking foil, another photocopied map and instructions for the next drop point which was 7am the next morning and another 7 km away.

Along the route there were a few more forestries so we decided that we would walk on for another 2 hours and make the most of the dark cover then sleep for a couple of hours in one of the wooded areas. We packed up the kit and headed out.

It had started to rain by the time we stopped at 5am so we got some branches from trees that had fallen and made a leanto shelter in the forest. We settled down in what we were wearing and in the bivy bags and slept for a couple of hours.

At 7am we got up and built a small fire. We didn’t have any cooking pots so after a little chat we came up with the idea of mixing the oats with some sugar (that I had hidden down my bra) and some of the berries and water and make oat cakes and cook them in the foil on the fire. It worked really well. We looked at the map to find a stream to refill our water bottles. The oat cakes were chewy and fairly bland, the cranberries were a welcome bit of taste when you got one. Our next point was about 7 KM away but there was a high point of us being spotted because it was over open ground and roads ran all around the route. The weather was a bit misty which we hoped would stay but it cleared fairly quickly.

As we were on the way to our second drop point (which we hoped would contain some food because although we weren’t starving we were a little hungry and the nuts and chocolate would only help for a little while. We picked blackberries on the way to try to stock up on food on route but they were few and sharp.

On the way down the ridge to our second drop we were spotted by the landrover which was parked up on the road with good visability we didn’t stand a chance. The only option would have been a 10 km detour which none of us fancied so we took our chances but were spotted. We arrived there at about 11am.

At the second drop the bag contained 3 wooden sticks taped together with insulation tape and connected to batteries and a bulb which simulated the explosive for our final challenge. NO FOOD

We had collected a couple of coke cans on the way so we cut the top of one and filled it with water, boiled it and in a plastic bag put the oats and made some porridge we cut up a chocolate bar which melted and sweetened it. It was the nicest porridge I have ever eaten. Richie produced a small packet of coffee which he had smuggled so we reboiled water and in the other coke can made coffee.

It was hot and smelt lovely and it really brightened up our spirits which were flagging with the tiredness and hunger. We had a good hours rest and felt much better after it the lack of sleep starting to catch upon us.


12,080 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Refreshed and ready for more we looked at the next instructions. The next drop was again another 5km away, so we packed up our kit and prepared to head off.

The walk to the next point was a mixture of roads and very good tracks so we made really good time we arrived there at 3pm and were delighted with our drop.

In it there were 5 sleeping bags, 3 more rucksacs, instructions for the final drop and our most prized bit a leg of venison with the fur and hoof still on. It was a total of 12 km to the bridge, and we figured it would be at this point that the Sneakies would try to catch us so it would be better to do that bit in the dark. Our plan was then to walk for a few more hours and then try to set up camp early to give us some good hours sleep. We would get up at 2am and then aim to reach the bridge by 6am Sunday morning.

Off we set tired, hungry and most of us were suffering with wet sore feet. Having said that we were working really well as a team and looking our for each other. I was getting slow, my knee was aching and although the knee brace was doing it’s job in keeping my joint stable I could feel that it was a bit swollen and sore. The boys were fab, they not once complained about the speed of walking and made sure that I was OK.

We found a fantastic camp at about 6pm, we were only 6 Km from the final point and there in time to set up a really good camp.

I started on setting up the fire, we needed a big fire to cook the meat but because the forestry was quite dry had to be careful not to start a forestry fire. We found an area of wet mud that was about 4 foot long and 2 wide, and I made some kindling with me knife and some small sticks. Richie and Leighton went hunting for wood, Nick made a fantastic shelter and Wes got to skinning the venison leg

The meat we tried to cook on sharpened sticks first and we also wrapped some bigger chunks in foil and stuck it in the fire. Richie opened his sleeping bag and discovered that they hadn’t searched it so inside there was a tin of beans which we opened and heated. They were the best beans any of us had ever tasted and it was such a lovely surprise. We also made more oatcakes as it would do for breakfast and cut down on time in the morning.

The venison cooked and eaten we settled down for sleep in the forest with the embers of the fire dying down. Tired but happy that we had almost finished we slept with a nice sense of achievement for what we had managed so far.

The next morning at 2am we got up packed up and set out to our final destination. I think we were all surprised at how tired we felt, personally I felt completely drained so progress was very slow every km walked felt like 5 and we needed to stop regularly for breaks. Even though we were tired our spirits were good and we just got on with it. I was very slow so when we were 2 km from our final point we passed the extraction point. I suggested that we all walk on but instead of the lads stopping and slowing up for me that they keep walking as it was a good track and I would try to keep up, if not able then they could meet me on the track as they headed back up which is what we did. We finished at 8am and I think this picture sums up how we all felt

We were taken back to the base and there waiting for us was a full cooked breakfast before we headed back to bridgend

Mines a big red one
6,178 Posts
I should point out that the old farts compromised Mabel's group THREE times :D :D :D :D :D and I have the long range photos to prove it.

Sir FallofaLott
5,060 Posts
I should point out that the old farts compromised Mabel's group THREE times :D :D :D :D :D and I have the long range photos to prove it.
Shouldnt there be a rule banning long range pics - i mean, in theory, he could have just snapped them from his bedroom window given a powerful enough lense !!!!!!! :D :D :D

Looks like it was tough but great fun - great report :D
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