Ex DRAGON ENDEAVOUR 4 AAC Workshop Adventure Training in Bavaria
On Sunday the 8 Jul 18, 25 Personnel including 4 instructors and admin staff, left Wattisham Airfield bound for Haus Magnus, Bavaria, Germany.
We stopped in Sennelager for the night and a fair bit of driving later we all arrived safely at about 1600hrs the following day. After a brief from the resident staff and the kit being issued we settled in for the night. Over the following week we would be taking part in mountain biking, climbing, mountaineering and kayaking. We would also be doing some white-water rafting at the end of the trip at Area 47, Tyrol, Austria.
We started by doing basic rock face belay climbs (partner holding the rope) where the instructor would choose progressively harder routes up the same rock face.
Every descent was abseiled which improved trust in our partners and added another aspect to the climb.
Those of us who progressed to the second day of rock climbing were introduced to ‘leading’ whereby the climber clips their rope through carabiners as they climb higher. Although this sounds simple it made the climbs harder and forced you to climb smarter to conserve energy.
By the end of the exercise every single person was a vastly better climber.
Cpl Potts, 4 Regt AAC, REME VM
If you want to experience the pure thrill of going downhill stupidly fast on two wheels with wind blowing through your hair and dirt in your eyes, then mountain biking is for you. It’s physically challenging and will push you out of your comfort zone and although it’s hard work cycling uphill, the downhill rush is fantastic.
The trail was around 17 miles long with total elevation of 1331 m through the breath-taking Bavarian countryside. At times the trail was rather challenging on the legs but the uphill sections were quickly forgotten about as soon as we got to the downhill sections (these were my favourite parts by far). After what seemed like an age, we finally stopped for lunch at the top of a very scenic hill, taking half an hour or so to recharge and soak in the view. From then on most of the trail was downhill and my poor little legs could enjoy the rest of the day.
This was my first-time mountain biking at this level and it was amazing and the views were well worth the leg burn.
Pte Gurung, 4 Regt AAC, RLC Chef
As the mountain leader for the exercise I have taken many different groups on various walks around South Bavaria and North Austria.
One of the harder routes we completed began with a challenging ascent from the town of Riezlern, Austria to the summit of the Fellhorn sitting at 2038m above sea level. After seeing first-hand, the impact of weathering over the last 8 years, the path had somewhat changed, leaving myself breathless along with the small group of walkers I was leading. I think it was safe to say “Water break!” was called frequently on the way up. Thankfully, half way up saw a noticeable change in gradient compared to the start of the walk, however it’s still a long trek to the top especially when the summit is covered in cloud. Not being able to see the summit somewhat made the walk a little harder.
Cloud cover or not, we still managed to summit within 3 hours. I found it appropriate at this time that we indulged with a ‘Milch Caffee’ and a slice of Apfelstrudle with cream.
Prior to the walk the weather predictions stated the cloud cover would lift, however it only lifted enough for us to see Riezlern from the top. We had our lunch and then made our way down off the mountainside.
Cpl Morris, 4 Regt AAC, AGC (SPS) Clerk
For the kayaking segment we took a short trip to Lake Rottochsee not far from Wertach. We were initially just getting used to being on the water, then it was time for the individual and team challenges to start. This ranged from capsizing ourselves and holding our breath underwater chariot racing with two kayaks and trying to fit 7 people on one kayak – which we achieved, shortly followed by us all falling off and our kayaks floating away into the distance. After frantically swimming to retrieve our kayaks we put all the kit away and headed down the road to take a trip down an alpine coaster giving us all a great view of the beautiful Bavarian scenery. The end of the day was rounded off with an ice cream, well deserved after a challenging yet enjoyable experience.
LCpl Stanners, 4 Regt AAC, REME Air Tech
White water rafting
If you ever visit Austria I recommend you go to Area 47. It’s a huge outdoor water park consisting of giant slides, wake boarding lakes, white water rafting routes as well as a great high ropes course and climbing feature which concluded with a long zip wire down towards the park. Set in the shadow of the Alps and amongst beautiful blue lakes in the state of Tirol, West Austria, this was a fantastic way to round off a week of great adventurous training.
We had had glorious sun for the time we were in Bavaria, unfortunately as soon as we set foot in Austria it started raining but this did not dampen the mood. That morning we enjoyed throwing ourselves down the 50-meter-high slides and getting propelled through the air on the “Blob” in between catching the sun when it wasn’t raining.
In the afternoon we suited up for some white-water rafting. We split down into groups and after a brief from our raft instructors, dipped into the icy river, jumped in the rafts and headed down the Imster ravine. I have done a fair bit of rafting before but this was by far the best course I have ever done. Lots of games, getting wet and crew abductions were all on the cards for the 2 and a half hours we were on the water. Everyone had lots of fun which was made possible by the great instructors we had and the sun showing it’s face eventually.
4 Regt AAC, REME VM