Cadets from 51 (Orton) Take a trip to NACATC Windermere

At 07:00 on the 14th March 2009, Cadets Scrine and Harding set off on a 9 hour journey that would take them to NACATC (National Air Cadet Adventure Training Centre) Windermere. Once they had taken the journey they then started unloading the bus of all the equipment that they would be using that week as well as the copious amount of food they would fuel 30 cadets with energy as they did a week of adventure training.

We soon went in to the centre where we immediately started to choose beds and start to unpack all of our personal belongings. Soon after this we then had to rent out kit from the building, most cadets needed very little as a kit list had been sent out of what to bring the month beforehand. Most cadets tried to get an early sleep so as to get in the routine of what the week would bring.

The first alarms went off at 06:00 as many cadets got up to do cooking, we were split into groups the night before and as such, Harding and Scrine were not in the cooking group meaning they could get an extra half hours worth of sleep. When 06:30 came we immediately got up, showered and set off to breakfast. A full cooked breakfast gave us lots of energy to fuel us for the day ahead. We were put into random groups for walking on the first day so staff could get an idea about our ability and so we drove off to Ambleside where the walk would start.

We set off on a lovely walk that went through farmland and up country hills, breaks were taken every hour or so to ensure each member of the group was well, as it was a random group there was a vast range of people’s abilities and we unfortunately had to go a lot slower than we would have wanted to. We got to the peak of 867m at around 14:00 and after this we had the long walk back. This was a daunting prospect for many but the thought of getting back to the centre on the minibus was heavenly. We steeply descended and after 4 hours we were back at the van. Later on that night we were put into groups of our ability and Scrine and Harding were put into group 3.

After an early start the next morning we set off on group 3’s walk, this was a long route that set off from Grasmere and slowly climbed up to a peak where we had lunch, but because it was so windy we had to take shelter in a large emergency shelter which kept us warm yet cramped as we ate. After about 20 minutes we moved on down the mountain which was covered in shingle of slate and as we descended it made the trading uneven. We felt like we were in a quite alien world in out waterproofs, windproof and thermal layer as we passed the locals wearing nothing more than a T-Shirt and shorts. Soon the ground started to level out and we had a nice gradual walk back to Grasmere. Unfortunately by the time we got back to Grasmere, the “World Famous Gingerbread Shop” was closed, so we couldn’t buy any.

Day 3 was considered as a nice easy and relaxing day as we did a nice bit of rock climbing at an abandoned quarry. Most cadets enjoyed this but a few were wary of abseiling as they did not like the height of it. But for the majority it was an experience and as the week progressed it allowed them to build upon this. After the rock climbing we went to an Orienteering Park where we did a bit of Orienteering, this didn’t take long and was easily enjoyed by everyone. It was about 03:00 when this finished and as such we were allowed a small amount of time in Ambleside, where we could have a look around the local shops, which sold excellent food and dirt cheap mountain gear.

Day four was by far the best day for me and the group and was a nice and easy walk up “The Old Man of Coniston”, this was a nice simple walk that at first was cloudy and gloomy but at about halfway up the climb the cloud was gone, and as we looked down we saw that we had walked all the way through it. It was a stunning view and we climbed even further, and as the cloud fully cleared the views were stunning and we could see for miles around, the climb down was just as beautiful and it became clear to me that as it became hotter a thermal base layer top was not what would be needed. After another few hours work we got to the van which might I add was a wonderful sight! We got back to the Centre where we were the only group back so I deemed it acceptable to have a half hour shower before relaxing for a couple of hours until the other groups returned.

Day five was the final day of walking and was a quite short walk of 20KM, which also allowed us to have a bit of scrambling. Like the day before it started off cloudy but as the day went on it was really sunny and as I looked around us I saw that we were above the cloud. We then started to descend on a once again sunny day, and after about 4 hours we were back at the bottom at the van.

We got back to the centre and we started to pack up, this took quite a while, and before we knew it we had to have dinner. After we had dinner we were told we had 3 hours to ourselves in Windermere which was good as many went out for a Chinese whereas me and a few others went to a local pizza restaurant where we had pizza followed by a battered mars bar.

The next day we packed up and left early, we arrived at March late in the evening to go home and sleep.