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Cadets Trip the Light Fantastic with Trust Grant

Published: 27 Apr 2015   updated: 01 May 2015


Fifteen Air Cadets and staff from 1998 (West Cross) Squadron in Swansea have just returned from an Arctic adventure in Northern Sweden, helped on their way by a grant of £2,950 from the RAF Charitable Trust.

The trip gave participants the chance to enjoy spectacular views of the Northern Lights as well as to learn survival techniques deep within the Arctic Circle. 

The intrepid Cadets set off from Stockholm, taking the train for 950 miles to Kiruna, deep in the wilderness. Plans to spend seven days on a dog-sledding expedition had to be curtailed due to an outbreak of canine flu, but cadets were still able to experience dog sledding along with other activities which included orienteering, making snow shoes, and a 12km cross country expedition on skis.  

Warrant Officer William 'Olly' Roberts said: "Once at Kiruna, we were kitted out with thermal coveralls, arctic boots and thick mittens to keep the temperature (down to -15 degrees C) at bay, then were moved even further north to set up our campsite home for the next seven days." 

He added: "Being self-sufficient was one of the great experiences of our expedition as we really were in the middle of nowhere. With no heating, electricity or running water we dug out a fire pit, used snow to make a wind break, gathered water from a frozen lake, bored holes in the ice to fish, and chopped wood for the main cooking fire."

The cadets also built two igloos on the lake where they spent the nights sleeping, with the Aurora Borealis overhead almost every night. 

Olly said: "It was a truly wonderful nine-day experience where everyone was pushed to their limits, learning new skills in a demanding and unforgiving but beautiful environment.

Wing Commander Mike Stones, Officer Commanding No.3 Welsh Wing, said: "On behalf of the whole team, may I express our absolute gratitude to the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust for its support in making this expedition happen; the experience will last forever with those who took part, and the skills each cadet has learnt will add a unique quality to their future university and employment CVs, that will be difficult to match."

CAPTION: Sgt Tom Jenkins enjoys dog sledding, controlling his sledge and instructing his team of dogs in northern Sweden.

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