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Air Cadets undertake Exercise Mountain Storm in Canada

After a year of training, 20 RAF Air Cadets from around the country came together in July 2023 for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Canada. Cadet Sergeant Benji Scott shares his reflections. 

"In late July 2023, we arrived at 2509 (Chipping Sodbury) ATC Squadron where we completed our final kit checks and got ready for an exciting start. After an early coach trip to Heathrow, we finally boarded our plane to Calgary for the five and half thousand miles journey. With an entire day of travelling behind us, we finally arrived in the small town of Canmore, where we would stay for the duration.

For the first three days, we visited local towns, including Banff, and went on a stunning day walk to the top of a nearby mountain. This helped us acclimatise to the new weather and time zone and created some amazing memories. However, this was only the tip of the iceberg!

On the 30 July we woke up very early, excited and left Canmore to begin our long awaited expedition. During the three hour drive to our start point, we passed some of the most incredible mountains I have ever seen! 

In the following days, we would walk to the top of mountains, through glacial rivers, and to a lake, which was so perfect that it’s hard to believe it's real. No two days were the same, and each day would present itself with its challenges and merits. We conquered everything from steep scree slopes to dense woodland and everything in between. Over these six days, we learned a lot about each other and ourselves. We all had our challenges, but everyone had fun and made memories that would last a lifetime.

By the end of our expedition, we were all very excited for the oncoming week of activities, albeit tired from a week of hiking. In our final week in Canada, we had the chance to experience all sorts of exciting adventure training opportunities, including whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and horse riding. Not only did we get to try a huge variety of activities, but we did them in the Canadian Rockies, quite literally the best place in the world for them.

At the end of our time in Canada, everyone wanted to stay longer. We had lived together, and we had made lifelong memories. 

Since Exercise Mountain Storm, we have all used our skills in many ways; Sgt Holly Kelynack is pursuing a Mountain Leader qualification, Cpl Luana Sasarman has become an ambassador for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, and I was fortunate enough to be given a placement at a top editing firm as a result of the Exercise Mountain Storm video (above).

Exercise Mountain Storm was truly the trip of a lifetime for every cadet who went on it. As a younger cadet, it was a trip I would not have believed was possible, yet now it is a prime example of the RAF Air Cadets' excellence and unrivalled spirit of adventure."