On the last weekend in October, Newbury Air Cadets competed against Totton Squadron and a collaboration of Sea Cadet Units in the inaugural Calshot Cadet Challenge event, and came away winners!
Competing in events such as archery, raft building, ski-bob relay races, climbing, crate stacking and more, the 10-strong team from Newbury powered their way to victory, getting some impressive scores in the process.
Once arrived, the team went straight in to a climbing practice, where they learnt techniques for belaying and about different types of routes, and also played some games with bouldering, in preparation for their scored speed climbing the next morning. Tents were then erected and dinner was cooked and eaten, and the sea and air cadets began to mix.
The following day began with the timed climb, the first scored event of the weekend, and all the cadets did very well with an average of 39 seconds. Cpl Beard managed the best score of anyone from the weekend, getting to the top in an impressive 20 seconds flat!
The next challenge was to design and build a raft from a set of equipment which would transport 5 team members out to a buoy and back again, in a timed race. Both Air cadet units went for a similar design, whilst the sea cadets chose something unusual, which ultimately was their downfall. With the sea cadets out of the way, it was left to the air cadets to battle it out, and an error of judgement from Totton left it free for Newbury to steal the win from under their noses!
Archery was the final challenge of the day, with the cadets not only scoring for the competition but also trying to win cutlery to eat their dinner with!
Sunday started with a session of snowboarding, which wasn’t part of the competition but just for fun. This was followed by crate stacking, where in pairs you must build a tower from milk crates as high as you can whilst stood on it – much harder than it sounds!
After lunch, everyone got to have a go on the “Big Swing”, a high ropes course that you hang off from your harness as your team hauls you upwards. Once at the top, you pull a cord and release the swing, sending you and your partner plummeting to earth before swinging out to sea. Despite their fears, every cadet managed this knee-trembling event, and more points were in the bag for Newbury.
The final event of the weekend was a ski-bob relay race. By this point, the cadets knew they only needed to come second to win outright, but that didn’t stop them from trouncing the other units with ease. It saw them presented the Owl and Crescent trophy in front of the Supermarine S.6A, the precursor to the Spitfire, as the first unit to ever win it, and also saw them invited back next year to defend their prize.
Plt Off Luke Pepperell said “What a fantastic weekend. Our thanks go to the Calshot Staff for their hard work putting the program together and the other units for making it so competitive, but well done to all our cadets for pushing themselves to the limits and proving they’ve got what it takes to be successful”.