I am speneding most of this week up in Brecon photographing the Cambrian Patrol. and so far getting some good photos.
The annual event covers some of the harshest and mountainous terrain on offer in the mid-Wales countryside. Arduous, physically and mentally demanding, it is a highlight in the British Army’s training calendar and regarded internationally as one of the toughest tests facing the modern-day soldier.
This years’ exercise, which runs from Friday, October 8, to Sunday, October 17, has attracted an entry of 94 eight-man/woman teams. Joining the British Regular and Territorial Army soldiers this year are 16 international Army teams from countries such as Pakistan, India, Australia, Canada, United States and France.
However, this year’s nine-day event will see 45 Regular teams take part – the highest number ever to have done so in the 51-year history of Cambrian. On average, 35 Regular teams sign up for the demanding 48-hour challenge.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) – both having served in Afghanistan last year during Operation Panther’s Claw and Operation Moshtarak, respectively – will take on the patrol.
On arrival at a given assembly area in Sennybridge (Grid Reference: 852345; OS Landranger Series, Map Sheet 160), teams will be subjected to a thorough check to ensure that they are in possession of the correct kit, equipment and clothing required for the exercise. Team patrol commanders will then be given a set of orders, for onward briefing to members of their patrol. Patrols are then taken to a number of drop-off points in the hills.
Split into seven phases, the teams, some with female soldiers, then have to march a mind-and-muscle sapping 55km carrying full personal kit and equipment, weighing in at some 60lbs, on a two-day patrolling mission.
Navigating both by day and night, the patrols face many testing and specialist challenges, including observation and reconnaissance of enemy forces, cold river crossings in full kit without access to boats, first-aid and defensive shooting under attack. At the completion of their patrol, each team faces a comprehensive debriefing session on their mission.