RAF Marham Reservists Tested in the Pyrenees

SIX members of 2620 (County of Norfolk) Squadron, based at RAF Marham, made up half of team of RAF Reserves who have recently returned from a week-long multi-activity Winter Adventure Training expedition in the Pyrenees.

Organized and run by the Squadron Commander, Squadron Leader Jonathan White, the other Marham participants were David Hartley, Conrad Jefferson, Mathew Turner and Richard Ward from the Norwich area and David Ellis from King’s Lynn.

Based out of bunk barns in Luchon in the French Pyrenees, the major event of the exped was a three day snowshoeing expedition in the High Pyrenees, just over the border, in Spain. After a day of avalanche rescue training on snowshoes, the team set off for Spain. Starting at a drop-off point near Arties, the team headed south up the Val de Valarties and then into a much steeper ascent, along a section of the GR 11, to a night stop in a mountain hut at 6,532 feet above sea level.

Unfortunately, a flu-type bug which had affected the region for weeks, now gripped one of the team, meaning that the group had to split; one team taking a shorter route to a pick-up point near Arties while the second team followed the planned route to ascend the spectacular Montardo, the second highest mountain in the Pyrenees, at 9,207 feet.

Having met up with the safety vehicle, a short drive took everyone to a mountain hostel in the village of Salardu for the night. The following day saw the whole team conduct a high circular route in the vicinity of Beret, in  Spain, before driving back into France for the night.

The next day was the much awaited Alpine skiing session conducted at over 5,000 feet in the French area called Peyragudes; here, once the snow stopped and the sun came out everyone enjoyed success in improving, or gaining, their alpine skiing and everyone enjoyed an excellent day.

The final day of activity was a testing Langlauf skiing session back at Beret in Spain. For those who had not attempted this discipline before, the degree of physical exertion required come as something of a shock, leaving Davis Ellis, to comment that this was ‘the best whole-body work-out he had ever had’!

The event was fully-funded by the RAF Reserves and was aimed at deserving Reservists from across the Force. If you would like to become involved in 2620 Squadron’s Adventure Training activities, the Squadron is now  recruiting; please phone 0800 783 1915 or search online for RAF Reserves.

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