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Navigation training for Raleigh recruits

9 August 2017
Royal Navy recruits from HMS Raleigh are using the Rame Peninsula as a location to learn basic navigation skills ahead of their training on Dartmoor.

The over-night exercise, known as Daring Leap, occurs in week four of the recruits’ 10-week course.  Based at Pier Cellars, a former pilchard harbour, near Cawsand, which is owned by the Royal Navy, the recruits work in teams of 10.  

They must complete a nine kilometre walk, navigating to 10 points around the peninsula, while carrying their kit in bergens on their back.

Recruit Thomas Wilson, aged 25, from County Durham, has followed in his father’s foosteps in choosing a Naval career.  

It’s been a very good bonding session, within the team, the two classes and our divisional instructors.

Recruit Wilson

With a daughter of his own he decided that the Service would give him a secure future. 

Recruit Wilson said:  “In each team there are people working out on the bearings and people checking our pace. 

“We’ve worked out that it takes 15 minutes to walk a kilometre, so the pacers make sure we are keeping on track.  It’s good to get out. 

“It’s been a very good bonding session, within the team, the two classes and our divisional instructors.”

Daring Leap is the first of three extended exercises that the recruits take part in during their training to test their skills and understanding of the principles they have been taught. 

Team working is an essential part of training and wider Royal Navy operations so the recruits also giving a series of other challenges at Pier Cellars to build this important component.

Lieutenant Jim Butler, one of HMS Raleigh divisional training officers, said:  “I think this exercise is great for us as instructors. 

"The Petty Officer instructors get to see them regularly, gelling as a team, but for us that don’t see them so closely, it’s great to see how they are interacting with each other and how their team-work is going.

"It also gives us a chance to get to know them and gives them the chance to get to know us outside of the structured divisional environment.”

The recruits’ navigation skills are tested further during Exercise Hidden Dragon on Dartmoor.  There they conduct a 20 kilometre exercise across the moorland.  They also get a chance to live in field conditions, spending the night in tents and cooking their own food from rations pack.

Commander Tony Stevens, HMS Raleigh’s Commander Training, said: “Daring Leap is the first of the three big exercises that all our recruits have to complete as part of their initial Naval training and, as such, is our first opportunity to see how, after just four weeks in the Royal Navy, they are developing as individuals and, just as importantly, as team players. 

“It is deliberately challenging, getting the recruits to work outside of their comfort zones, but also often reported as one of the high points in their training by recruits when they complete their time with us. 

“With the assault course in the grounds of Pier cellars, and raft race across the harbour, it is also without doubt one of the most memorable events they undertake.”

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