Exercise Centurions Arena, South Yorkshire

On Friday 6th October, the Upper Sixth departed for Ex Centurions Arena. The focus of the exercise was to provide a realistic and challenging environment in which we could be tested on our navigation and leadership skills. 

After an early start, we departed from College and began the journey up to Yorkshire where the infamous three peaks; Whernside, Ingleborough and  Pen-y-ghent were there to greet us. By 13:00 hrs, we were split into sections and introduced to our safety staff who would accompany us throughout our duration on the hills. Staggered by intervals of fifteen minutes, each section began their ascent up Pen-y-ghent, the first of the three peaks.

Turn by turn everybody was presented with an opportunity to lead their section through one leg of our pre planned route, granting an opportunity to navigate across various terrains while managing ascents, descents and ever changing weather conditions. By 18:00 hrs, all sections had successfully navigated back to the start point, providing a good chance for a quick reflection on how we felt the day had gone, and how we were to move forward into the following day. After a short coach journey we arrived at Wathgill Camp, which would be our accommodation for the duration of the exercise. 

Day 2 began with another early start and a solid breakfast, which was well received across the board. With a long day of walking ahead, everybody seized the opportunity to provide themselves with as much energy as possible. After another short coach journey, we reached our starting point for the day’s route. As the day went on, the weather conditions continued to deteriorate, providing a great challenge at the higher altitudes as wind speed made walking on a bearing incredibly difficult. By lunch time, nearly all of the sections had conquered their second peak and had utilised their previous experience of Ingleborough from Ex Trail (Summer Term 2017).

That afternoon presented the final challenge of the exercise. With one peak left to climb, the majority battled through the weather and fatigue in hope of completing the task within the remaining time limit.

Unfortunately, a few sections found that they needed to adjust their routes in order to be back at the start point by 17:00 hrs. The physical nature of the day became evident as people returned looking tired and ready for a well deserved nights sleep back at camp.

In summary, Ex Centurions Arena proved to be physically and mentally demanding and truly tested us as a year group. It allowed us to act independently and push beyond our comfort zones.​

Jake Tinbergen, 16E Alanbrooke

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