Alpine Rock 2019 was a Summer Exercise involving London & Southern Area Sea & Royal Marine Cadets. The aim of the exercise was to to take Cadets & Adult Staff to Bavaria, Germany; to give them the chance to take part in an array of adventurous training activities outside of remit and terrain they would normally operate in. In addition it gave Cadets & young Adults the opportunity to complete their Gold DofE residential award.
Travelling in two minibuses, with a total journey time of 22 hours from point of departure; they used the cover of nightfall to make progress avoiding European traffic hot spots, the group were taken on arrival to a freshwater swimming lake, to blow the cobwebs off.
Day one involved a combination of Climbing & Abseiling at a local Crag, under instruction Cadets took responsibility for each others safety, this in the awe inspiring backdrop of the Alps. In addition a Social Media Live Podcast back home, quickly highlighted to loved ones and families; the majesty of their new playground.
Day two, Canyoning; it is fair to say abseiling was a challenge, especially for a few Cadets who were engaging in their first trip with Cadets. But this challenge was more awe inspiring as it included abseiling through a waterfall, with a 80 metre drop.
Day three was a raft trip in the running rapids of the Austrian Alps. Four of the Cadets had been on a raft trip in North Wales, but that was only a short course where the raft and crew was minibused back to the summit on three occasions; yet we were still going strong for over an hour in a convoy of three rafts. Instructors laughed as the invitation for people in the rafts to throw themselves in to the water at identified safe spots was well received.
What amazed our young men and woman was the cognitive awareness that they didn’t believe days 2 & 3 could be replicated in the UK; I and my fellow leaders reinforced that fact.
Day three exertions were calmed with a visit to Area 47, an awesome outdoor water park, balancing extreme activities with fun water activities was a good counter balance.
As an Adult Leader on returning from the rafting we decided to stop off at the Castle in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; he horse ride up the hill was the only expense; only then through talking to our Cadets did I realise the world of CGI, superheroes etc had been around for longer than I remembered; that evening a You Tube presentation of the Car flying over the castle reinforced the authenticity of the visit.
Day 4 started with a short drive to a nearby ski lift venue, where we donned boots and day sacks to ascend to a mountain hut called the Schwarzwasser Hutte, where we would spend the night. On route on the ascent, we were given a variety of outdoor educational verbal presentations, reinforcing local culture, history & traditions. I felt this was an important activity, as this activity could not be mirrored in the United Kingdom; at the top they engaged with locals who were using the Hutte as a stop over as they traversed the mountains in the area. In addition, the local cuisine was surprisingly liked by all, in this day and age that was a relief. Our young men & woman engaged in chat with the locals, no TV, no WiFi but that was irrelevant.
Day 5, we treated the Cadets to adventure Schwarzwasser Hutte Tee shirts before descending. The morning sunshine highlighted the surrounding peaks, so before descending , a must have photo opportunity arose.
Day 6 was a full rest and reflection day spending half a day at the Vonnemar Simming Complex in Sonthofen.
After our meal on Day 6, our Cadets put together a presentation (attached), using their own words and photos; it was amazing to see how the trip impacted on the group. Comments from cadets and parents via social media “thank you, my son is having an awesome time”; and mirrored by similar emails and third party emails since returning.
On behalf of the Cadets and staff from London Area, I would like to say a massive thank you to the Ulysses Trust, for donating the funding which permitted the adventure to take place. I know without this funding many of the Cadets couldn’t have afforded the trip.
The memories, leadership and personal skills developed on this adventure, will have helped our young men and woman in their futures; their eyes opened to the real outdoors and adventurous activities which can be accessed.
Quotes from Cadets:
“I enjoyed this trip lots, my favourite activity was canyoning as it improved my confidence and was great fun.”
“An amazing experience. I did lots of activities I had never done before.”
“I made decent memories in Bavaria , good times with good people. My favourite activity was Area 47 by far. Well recommended by all of us.”
“Had a great week in Bavaria, canyoning was definitely my favourite and I met great people.”
“This week has been amazing and it wouldn’t be possible without the staff and the people we have been with.”
“Made some awesome memories and met some lovely people. Loads of activities I wouldn’t have normally done. I completely recommend this, I had a great time!.”
“Made some unforgettable memories, met super nice people and the activities pushed me to my limits!.”
“Met some good people in Bavaria and did some activities I wouldn’t normally do, definitely recommend.”
“Great memories in Bavaria and met some really nice people. My favourite activity was the canyoning or area 47. Thoroughly recommended from me.”
“I had an incredible time here in Bavaria, doing amazing activities where I pushed myself to my limits. I highly recommend this to anyone.”