The Second Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, based in Dhekalia Cyprus, were host during the February half term holiday to cadets and adults from Northumbria ACF who participated in Exercise Northumbrian Zeus.
During the field exercise the cadets spent two days on the live firing ranges where they used a range of infantry weapons. Fresh from this the cadets deployed on Troop Carrying Vehicles to Peyla training area for a 48 hour tactical exercise that included patrolling, section and platoon attacks to clear mythical pirates from the area. There was plenty of blank ammunition and the regular soldiers who played the parts of the “pirates” were genuinely surprised at the high standard of training the cadets had achieved.
Outside of the field exercise period the cadets made the most of the Adventure Training at the Water Sports Centre on the warm Mediterranean Sea. They spent time improving their paddling skills, as this was the first time that most of the cadets had kayaked in the sea, so a real sense of achievement was felt after expert tuition from the staff. They also snorkelled around the rocks looking out for unusual and colourful fish and, of course, local turtles. One of the highlights for many was attempting Wakeboarding which is a surface water sport developed from a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing techniques. The rider is towed behind a motorboat, typically at speeds of 17-25 km/h so it was also a good introduction to waterskiing.
As well as improving their individual water skills and challenging themselves at new sports there was plenty of fun on a banana boat and participation in beach sports. Although the weather deteriorated during the last two days due to a Coptic storm, they were still able to sail and kayak up to the final afternoon. In the cadets own words:
“The cadets were separated into two groups and sent to either Dhekalia primary school or the beach for water sports – we went to the School first to offer our expert painting and decorating skills! Many of the cadets left feeling we had (in a very small way) improved the school and the Garrison in general. My section and I then spent the reminder of the day in the sea at Dhekalia water sports, either on the Banana boat, kayaking, snorkelling, wakeboarding, beach volleyball or beach football until the weather started to resemble the UK.”
“After breakfast we all made our way to the beach for a full day of water and beach sports – we had a full package on offer from sailing, banana boat and kayaks to beach volley ball, football and sumo wrestling. Everyone was enjoying the day to relax after a long and enjoyable week on the island. At around 1300 the weather started to get a bit dull and the sea a bit choppy but no one let that get them down as we had had such a good morning. We all got changed and had lunch in the beach bar before making our way back to camp to start sorting our kit out and packing as tomorrow was our last day.”
“We all went back to the beach hut where George and his wife had planned a beach BBQ and disco for the night – it was really good to unwind and relax. The food was really nice with some going back for more and even some of the adults had a little dance in the disco. After the night had finished we all said our thank you’s & goodbyes to George and his family and the cadets made their way with the duty adults to their accommodation.”
To put something back into the local community the cadets spent a half day at the garrison primary school painting outdoor furniture and play equipment before joining the local Brownie and Girl Guide group at a church service to celebrate the achievements of young people. They also went on a cultural visit to Nicosia, the only remaining divided city in the world. The party returned home tired but happy having enjoyed a fantastic visit, although returning from a sunny 20 degree average temperature to a windy snowy Manchester was something of a shock! Northumbria ACF would like to thank all organisations who provided funding for this venture.
A great week was had by all and a massive thanks to 2RRF and our sponsors for making it all possible.