On 23rd March 18 cadets and 3 members of staff from Repton School CCF departed a cold and snow bound UK to fly to Malta. The purpose of the expedition was to introduce the 18 cadets to the adventurous activity of rock climbing and to allow them to experience the fellowship and team-building opportunities of an adventurous training expedition.
On arrival at Malta International Airport the warmth of the Mediterranean climate was immediately noticed, woolly hats and gloves were removed and stored at the bottom of rucksacks, not to be needed until our return to the UK seven days later. Transfer to the hotel, room allocation and introduction to our 4 instructors followed before splitting the cadets into three groups. The grouping was based on sporting ability, any previous climbing experience and age.
The first of the three groups departed early on the first morning to receive an introduction to the fundamentals of climbing (tying in and belaying) before being led up one of three excellent multipitch climbs. Such an immersion in a technical area of climbing was a definite challenge to the cadets, who responded well to their instructors. The other two groups had a gentler introduction to climbing. Visiting an area called ‘Motorcycle Slabs’ the basic techniques were picked up quickly by all and this allowed rapid progression ensuring as much climbing as possible took place.
Over the following five days the cadets all experienced multi-pitch climbing, abseiling and sport climbing at several different areas. This combined with evening lectures on the history of climbing, how to interpret guide books and equipment care allowed the cadets to gain certification in either rock leading or multi-pitch climbing with recommendations for further log book experience before gaining their Basic Rock Climbing qualification.
With climbing currently bidding for a place as an Olympic sport a competition day was held on the final day. This put into practice the ideas and techniques that the cadets had covered in the previous week and included a timed climb, both while able to see and while blindfolded! The event was enjoyed by all, not least the instructors who were able to watch climbers being misdirected by their partners and ending up climbing through bushes.
The final evening was spent relaxing in Malta’s capital, Valetta, where being Good Friday we were able to see the famous Easter parade in its full glory.
The Officers and Cadets of Repton CCF would like to thanks the Ulysses Trust for the generous support of the expedition.