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Carolyn Browne

Former ambassador to Kazakhstan

4th November 2014

Exercise Cambrian Patrol

Exercise Cambrian Patrol is an annual event organised and run by 160 (Wales) Brigade. It is both physically and mentally demanding and is a highlight in the British Army’s training calendar.

Internationally, it is regarded as one of the toughest tests facing the modern-day soldier can face and some foreign entrants have to claim the right to take part by winning through their own domestic competition.
Exercise Cambrian Patrol itself began in 1959, when a group of Welsh Territorial Army soldiers designed a weekend training event, featuring long distance marching over the Cambrian Mountains, culminating in a shooting match on the Sennybridge training area.

This year’s exercise runs from Friday, October 17, through to Sunday, October 26. Each phase will begin at Farm 5 (Grid 858397: OS Landranger Series: Map Sheet 160).

On arriving at the assembly area 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.

Patrol commanders will then be given a set of orders based on a specific scenario, for onward briefing to members of their patrol before they are taken to a number of drop-off points in the hills.

The exercise is split into seven phases with soldiers marching a mind-and-muscle sapping 55km carrying full personal kit and equipment, weighing in at some 60lbs, on the 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 an attack. At the completion of the exercise each patrol faces a comprehensive debriefing session on their mission.

Military skills, stamina and dedication are constantly evaluated during the patrol and marked with a system of points. Teams that successfully complete their mission are awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal or certificate of merit, depe

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