Wisbech Soldier in Exercise Cambrian Patrol

A SOLDIER from Wisbech has faced up to one of the toughest patrolling challenges the Army has to offer.

A SOLDIER from Wisbech has faced up to one of the toughest patrolling challenges the Army has to offer.

Territorial Army Private Mark Burgess, 21, was part of an eight-man/woman team representing 3rd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment taking part in Exercise Cambrian Patrol. The annual event is a highlight of the British Army’s training calendar and is regarded as one of the most prestigious patrolling tests facing the modern soldier within NATO.

This year’s event, which started from an assembly point in Sennybridge, Mid-Wales, attracted a record number of British Regular Army teams this year, (45) as well as a healthy contingent of Territorial Army team and foreign Army teams from across the world. In total, 752 soldiers from across the world took part in the event.

All teams were pitting their wits, strength and endurance against some of the toughest terrain on offer in the rugged mountainous Welsh countryside.

Exercise Cambrian Patrol was first staged in 1959 as a long distance marching competition over the Cambrian mountains of Mid Wales, and has been continuously updated to meet modern day challenges.

Eight-man/woman teams have to yomp a distance of 50km, carrying full personal kit and additional equipment weighing up to 60lbs, on a two-day patrolling mission within a realistic scenario against advancing enemy patrols.

Most Read

Navigating by day and night and linking up with friendly agents en-route, they face many testing and specialist challenges, including observation and reconnaissance of enemy forces, cold river crossings in full kit without access to boats and defensive shooting under attack.

Teams were also assessed on infiltration of enemy positions and simulated nuclear and biological and chemical attacks on the Army’s Sennybridge ranges, north of Brecon, ending up with a comprehensive debriefing session on their two-day patrol.

Teams that successfully complete the exercise are awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal, or certificate of merit, depending on the number of points they have earned throughout their patrol.

Speaking in the forestry before the start of the event, Mark, who graduated in the summer with a 2:1 BA Honours Degree in International Relations, said the team were aiming to push themselves not just for a finish, but for one of the medals on offer.

“Obviously, everyone is looking to give their best over the 50km of the patrol, but we do not just want to complete the event, we want to come away with a medal,” said Mark, who joined the TA in 2007.

“We’ve trained for Cambrian and we know there are various tests along the way that will be difficult. I don’t expect it to be easy. It’s all about pride and a sense of achievement.

“I’m looking forward to completing the two days.”

Brigadier Russ Wardle, Commander 160 (Wales) Brigade and head of the Army in Wales, was responsible for the event.

He said: “Exercise Cambrian Patrol has a reputation as the toughest patrol competition in the world – bar none – and this year’s event has once again shown why that is.”

“The co-operation of landowners once again allowed us to base most of the exercise on land not familiar to participants, thus testing leadership, navigation and military skills to the full.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter