SSgt Marcus Clarke reports back on Exercise DEMS Serpent, two week-long exercises in adventure training, which were part-funded by Felix Fund.
On the 8 June six members of DEMS (Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search) Training Regiment departed Bicester to attend a week-long adventurous training package in Newquay.
After loading the remaining stores, we headed off on the 4½-hour trip to RAF St Mawgan, which was to be our base. Eventually, we arrived in sunny Newquay and, with accommodation and stores sorted, it was on to town for a RECCE and a quiz in a local pub. Six of DEMS’ smartest and brightest members took part and finished ninth out of ten. Mastermind it was not!
Tuesday saw us to get stuck into the first activity, which was coasteering from Fistral Beach. For those that don’t know, coasteering is like a cross between rock climbing without a harness and bungee jumping without a bungee. We had a few refusals on the 33ft jump, which was the culmination of the day. I won’t name and shame (Search Sqn!)…
Wednesday was spent on the beach with a kite and buggy. This sounds like an easy day but trying to control a power kite 3m wide and a metal buggy with no brakes at the same time made for some great entertainment and fantastic pictures of Pte Stanway being dragged down the beach on his front after tipping the cart.
Thursday was spent mountain biking in two locations: Cardinham Woods and Lanhydrock. We started at the Skills Park where we honed our senses and the skills needed for the trails that we were about to conquer. What we weren’t expecting was Cpl Clynes to fall off his bike on the first trail and totally rip off his shorts, to the point that he had to cycle for the remainder of the day in his boxers.
Finally, having had a thoroughly good week, we travelled back to Bicester to reload and get set to go again for week 2.
The second week was as challenging as the first and allowed us to experience these new pursuits, while taking a number of people out of their comfort zones.
Thanks are due to Melanie Moughton and the hard-working team at Felix Fund, as well as to the Regimental COPF, who contributed towards the costs that enabled the trip to go ahead.