Adventure Training

Exercise Winter Warrior

Me and the lads in Austria Ex Winter Warrior is an annual event organised by the army for service personnel to learn how to ski. On this exercise I went to Austria for one week with a few of the lads from the Kings and had a proper laugh. Getting there was another adventure itself, we traveled by coach from Chelsea Barracks (London) through France and Germany until we reached our chalet.

I had never been skiing before so was a little apprehensive but that soon vanished as we hit the bar in our chalet. The 'in drink' at the time was a 'floogal', this was vodka and a Red Bull type drink; this was a few years before vodka Red Bull took off in the Uk. the next morning we got up bright and early and set off for the slopes.

At first I couldn't even stand up on the skis never mind actually ski, I couldn't even manage the ski lift! It didn't help that some of the lads could already ski. After a couple of days I started to get the hang of it even being able to do parallel turns! Eventually I achieved the extraordinary feat of getting on to the black slopes. Although the skiing was good the nights out were even better, what a picture we must have been, a gang of scousers out on the p*** wearing shorts in the middle of Austria whilst it was snowing!!

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Exercise Transglobe

Ex Transglobe is an annual event organised by all three services and is a tri-service round the world yacht race, the yacht is a Nicholson 55 and it's name is HMS Broadsword. The race is made up of several legs and each leg is manned by a different crew consisting of service personnel from the three services. Anybody that wishes to complete one of the legs has to fill out a form with their choice of leg and hope for the best. Fortunately I was chosen for the Hawaii - Hong Kong leg!

Arriving at Hawaii was an experience I'm not likely to forget, the place was beautiful. As we were technically on a military exercise we were to be staying in Pearl Harbour Naval Base. The yacht had not yet reached Hawaii as it was delayed from Panama, so we had a spare week with not much to do. The first thing we did was to head down to Wakiki Beach to get a tan.

After a week of exploring Hawaii our yacht finally arrived and it was straight to work getting the boat ready and learning the ropes (pun intended). Two weeks later we were ready to start our leg, it was a race between us the navy and the RAF across 5,200 nautical miles to Hong Kong. It was a miserable day when we set off and we soon lost sight of the others, in fact we were not to see the other boats until we reached the fininshing line three and a half weeks later.

Never before, or since, have I experience such quiteness and solitude as I did whilst I was sailing across the Pacific Ocean. It was a totally different experience for me and one that I liked and enjoyed. We caught fish such as Yellow Fin Tuna, Barracuda and Dolphin fish. These fish would go straight into the oven and were delicious, the freshest fish you could possibly get and all for free. The weather was nice and sunny, apart from a few squalls. One of these squalls was a force 8 and on this night one of the ropes snapped sending our spinnaker into the sea, it was all 'hands on deck' as we tried to get it back on board. We did get it back on board in the end.

One of the best things we did was stopping in the middle of the Pacific and going for a swim, totally surreal! We were the second boat to reach the finishing line but because of our boat's handicap it meant that we had won our leg. After a celebratory can of lager we sailed along Hong Kong harbour. We stayed in Hong Kong for six days, no where near enough time. Whilst there we went up Victoria Peak on the vertical tram and just enjoyed the city.

A few months after getting back to the Uk we went to an awards evening at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich where we received our winners medals off Princess Anne no less.

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