Cyprus Camp

Cdt Isobel Mooney and FS Myles Webb have returned to the Sqn from a camp with a difference in Cyprus. Her report follows:

“Flight Sergeant Webb and I were lucky enough to be chosen to go to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus for an annual camp in April. On arriving in Cyprus at about 5pm, the weather hit us immediately as we boarded the coach which would take us to our next destination, RAF Akrotiri. We were welcomed by the Camp Commandant, who gave us a brief overview of what we would be getting up to in the next few days and then split us into flights. The only thing we were dreading were the 5:30am wake up calls every morning, and some days lasting 18 hours.  On thursday morning after a filling cooked breakfast, we were off to ‘Olive Harvest’ which was not olive picking as we had been told the previous day, but a sneak preview to an American Aircraft known as the U2. Later on, we had our first of many visits to the beach; with many cadets rushing to the ice cream van that has been following us all morning. That night we all took part in the inter-flight quiz at the families club, in which FS Webb’s team came first, and my team came second, doing 241 proud.

The next day was a particularly long one, with command tasks all day under a blazing sun, starting at around 7am. This proved to be very challenging for a lot of cadets, but it was a fantastic way to get to know the team as we all had the opportunity to lead a task. After 7 hours of pushing heavy tyres and getting a team across seas of ‘shark infested custard’ we were all pretty worn out. After we had dinner at the Junior Ranks Mess, it was time for the inter-flight bowling competition. Saturday and Sunday were very relaxed days in which we visited a Water park and drove down to Paphos for a quick shop and a boat ride around the bay. To make sure that the sea and sun hadn’t gotten to our heads, there was an inter-flight competition on the Sunday night. The football competition was very well played with most of the boys becoming frustrated and competitive as each flight A, B, C and D played against each other. B flight, which was the flight I was posted to, came first and our scores were added to our impeccable room inspection points. On Monday, we visited the Red Arrows (Which Flight Sgt Webb particularly enjoyed!) and went Go Karting that evening.

On Tuesday, we visited the UN Building and learnt about the division within Cyprus, as well as going over through a pretty tight passport control into the Turkish border, for some mid-week shopping.  Tuesday night’s meal consisted of pork chops, lamb kebabs and halloumi cheese, which left everyone licking their lips afterwards.  The next day we went abseiling about 200ft down Mount Troodos. Although this was very nerve-racking and frightening for some, most people managed to overcome their fears and get down it in great cadet spirit.  The Second half of the day we had some more command tasks before making our way home for dinner, then off to bed for an early night’s sleep, as most of us were completely exhausted. As Thursday was our last full day at the base, we spent a day having a look around the Griffins at 84 squadron, then the last few hours of the day on the beach. Even though it was pouring down with rain, most of the cadets managed to get into the sea. That night was the disco we had all been looking forward to, despite all of the cheesy songs such as the YMCA and the Macarena.

Our time in Cyprus had unfortunately come to an end on Friday morning. The results from the inter-flight competition had been announced, in which B flight won amongst many other awards including best male and female cadets. The team had become extremely close over the past 9 days so there were lots of email addresses to be passed around during quality time before the coach picked us up to take us back to Larnaca airport. When we arrived back to Heathrow at 11pm, extremely thankful that the ash cloud had not delayed us, it was time to say our goodbyes. Some of the cadets still had a 7 hour coach journey up to Wales, yet some only had a 10 minute drive from the airport. Although this incredibly enjoyable camp may have been the end of a cadet career for some, for others it was only the beginning.