Middlesex Wing took part in August of this year on an expedition to Serbia. The aim of the expedition was to canoe in areas not normally used for this activity taking cadets into unfamiliar environment while controlling the exposure to risk. I would like to say the expedition was a success and was thoroughly enjoyed throughout by all. The expedition took place on the Morava river, although used for local boating is rarely used for expedition of this type. As the expedition leader I wanted to show some of the historical sites and learn about the history of the country and teach the cadets about the history of Serbia. So we visited a memorial park in Kragujevac, Nis fortress and concentration camp with museum.
“We hadn’t been paddling very long but FLT OFF Cole encouraged us to come on the expedition. Myself (CDT Rosie Morton) and CPL Kyle Coughlan this was our first overseas trip with air cadets. This was my opportunity to prove to myself by expanding my personal skills in a challenging environment. Serbia pushed my limits as I was not used to the heat but I encouraged others to drink water and stay in the shade. This expedition for me was my working tool for promotion at the squadron but not only that my sense of achievement for myself. What I walked away from this trip I don’t think I could learn in a classroom.”
267 Cadet Rosie Morton.
This was the dam on the first day. We had to get out and portage round. As you can see (photos below) the river was low so we all had to work together to get the boats and equipment down safely. What a success. Especially as this was the first day, it was also the hottest and longest to paddle.
On this particular day we had found the river was broken by a bridge so that work lorries can travel from site to site. As you can see (photos below) cadets working together and using their training to overcome this obstacle. They had to pass boats through a small tunnel and let the momentum of the river take the flow of the boat. Using the painters (rope) they slowly let the boats through the tunnel one by one. Team work here was fantastic!
In the history of Middlesex Wing a canoeing expedition overseas had never been accomplished. I took it upon myself to make this happen with a colleague of mine. After achieving my commission I wanted to show other young officers that anything can happen. With the funding of the Ulysses Trust my expedition happened and was a huge success.
Our thanks go to the generosity of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust for supporting this expedition. www.rafct.com
A FEW WORDS FROM PLT OFF MELISSA COLE
“Traveling to Serbia was an eye opener for me. It took me a few days to adapt to the culture and of course learn how to drive on the other side of the road. I truly feel only having my commission a small amount of time the planning of this expedition has put me through my paces. Without the funding of the Ulysses Trust this project would have struggled to take place and for that I am truly thankful. The Ulysses Trust has definitely changed the way we canoe in Middlesex wing and has encouraged others to start this activity. I believe I have influenced other wings within laser to part take in canoeing to be bold and creative with this sport. There are so any benefits of young people working together and I’ve showed anything can be possible.”