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Northumbrian Cadets’ Adventure Triumph

18 March 2024

Two cadets from Northumbria Army Cadet Force received an ACCT UK grant and took part in Adventure Training in Norway in April 2023. The expedition provided cadets with an opportunity to develop resilience and teamwork, as well as an appreciation of the demands placed upon allied forces in WWII while working in challenging conditions.

This type of expedition is not usually available to cadets in rural Northumberland, especially in communities that have a high level of socioeconomic disadvantage. The grant provided by ACCT UK played a pivotal role in breaking down financial barriers, ensuring that deserving cadets could participate without the burden of costs. Participation in these activities supports the raising of aspirations, widens world viewpoints, fosters an appreciation for the need to protect ‘winter’ environments, and develops the cadets’ personal and social skills needed for success in higher education or future employment.

The exercise comprises training for and completion of a ski/dog sled expedition in Norway, including a battlefield tour and exercise re-enactment of the 80th Anniversary of Operations Grouse and Gunnerside during World War II. By engaging in a cross-country ski expedition, the cadets gained an understanding of alternative ways of journeying and enjoying the outdoors, thus developing cross-cultural perspectives on being outdoors (the Norwegian concept of Friluftsliv) and acquiring new skills, including snowhole construction, navigating in snow, and working in sub-zero temperatures.

I completed a 14-day Nordic skiing adventurous training exercise, combining a battlefield study that took place in the Telemark region of Norway from the 2nd to the 21st of April ’23. The exercise comprised three phases: a 7-day Nordic ski training package, followed by a 5-day self-sufficient Nordic ski touring journey across the Hardangervida, retracing the footsteps of the Heroes of Telemark. Finally, I participated in a battlefield study of Operation Grouse and Gunnerside on the 80th anniversary of the original mission.

I followed the same route taken by SOE (Special Operations Executive) Norwegian agents in February 1943. During a 5-day ski tour expedition, I covered miles of sub-arctic wilderness on Europe’s highest plateau, the Hardangervidda.
For this experience, I skied in the Norwegian Hardangervidda, more than 150 miles inside the Arctic Circle, where temperatures can reach -30°C. As a crucial part of my training, I learned to navigate my arctic surroundings on skis, pulling sleds behind me containing our group’s equipment and carrying 35kg bergens. I navigated across the plateau using a map, compass, and a GPS system, orientating the map to determine our route across the Hardangervidda.

L/Cpl Thomas Gladstone

I applied for funding through ACCT UK because I wanted to have this amazing opportunity that no one else in Northumbria ACF has had before. I actually found out about ACCT UK through social media. I saw posts of cadets going on expeditions and adventurous trips that were funded by ACCT UK grants. It seemed like such an awesome way to explore and have new experiences!

The grant I received was used to cover the expenses of the trip, like transportation, accommodation, and equipment. It made it possible for me to fully participate without any financial burden. As a result of this opportunity, I achieved so much! I got to explore new places, challenge myself physically and mentally, and learn valuable skills. It was a truly transformative experience that helped me grow as a person.

This opportunity had a huge impact on my life. It broadened my horizons, boosted my confidence, and made me more resilient. It showed me that with determination and support, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I’m really grateful for the funding and the chance to have this incredible adventure.

L/Cpl Thomas Gladstone

This trip was supported by ACCT UK Grants. If you are looking to take part in a similar expedition and need to fund your trip, you can apply today, here.

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