On arrival at Barry Buddon our cadets were allowed time to settle into their accommodation and then thoroughly briefed on all aspects of the camp. The following day cadets mustered on the parade square as a Battalion before being sent to their appropriate cadres, which would keep them occupied for most of the following two weeks. Cadets on Annual Camp are allocated cadres dependent on their ‘star level’ with the younger cadets working towards 1 Star and the more experienced, older cadets attempting to earn 2, 3 or 4 Star.
The syllabus follows the same core subjects for each star, but is progressively more complicated as cadets move up a level. Cadets also have the opportunity to earn promotion which mirrors the British Army rank structure.
Throughout the two week our cadets learned many new skills as well as revising and practising previously learned subjects. This included the safe handling, firing and maintenance of the Cadet Rifles - Air Rifle and the Cadet General Purpose Rifle. Time was spent in the field learning how to make shelters, prepare ration packs, patrolling and a variety of other ‘fieldcraft’ activities which saw many of the cadets firing blank ammunition as part of testing. Additionally, cadets were taught and assessed in their navigation abilities. Back in camp there were lessons in first aid, drill, military knowledge and physical fitness, which many were tested and passed. Every cadet also had the opportunity to spend some time on adventure training where they experienced rock climbing and mountain biking. The cadets also carried out expedition training which saw them spend time out on the training area walking and camping out for the night. During the middle weekend all the cadets spent a half day in Dundee where they visited Discovery Point.
Throughout the fortnight there were also competitions for the cadets to enjoy a friendly rivalry between each unit, from March & Shoot to Cross Country.
Captain Cheryl Haynes, Battery Commander of Orkney & Shetland Battery said: “Annual Camp is a great opportunity for cadets to get onto the mainland and spend two weeks learning the skills that will progress them through the cadet syllabus. For many of the senior cadets they are meeting up with friends made on previous camps whilst the younger cadets make new friendships with young folk from all over the Highlands. It’s very full-on with each day being dedicated to activities whilst the evenings are mostly free for the cadets to socialise and relax. Not only do cadets progress through their star level, they learn to work as a team as well as build their confidence and self-esteem.”