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Silver Navigation Award in Windermere

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There is a nationally recognised navigation award which is available to cadets and staff alike.  The National Navigation Awards (www.nnas.org.uk) have three levels: bronze, silver, and gold.  Don’t be fooled.  These awards are nothing to do with the DoE scheme.  NNAS Bronze is a good preparation for Bronze Expeds, it’s true.  Silver though is really training for the Gold DoE expedition.  The Gold Nav award is essentially the navigation component of the Mountain Leader Award and is very tough indeed.  Your editor is probably not good enough yet for this – working on it.  As I take a hold on my duties as WATTO, I am keen to get the Wing involved in offering the NNAS.  When I realised that Sgts Perkins and Sula were finished with Silver DoE, I took the opportunity to take them to Windermere and team up with the friend the WATTO of Cumbria & North Lancs Wing.  They would undertake the silver level of the award in the hills of the Lake District. (Ed.)

On Friday 26th of February, Plt Off Christlieb, Sgt Perkins and Sgt Sula set off on their venture up north with the aim to complete their Silver National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS).  We met at 1700 hours and after loading the cars with monster loads of kit we set off. The journey took 5 long, painful hours; this was calmed by Plt off Christlieb’s whale music (AFI). We arrived at NACATC Windermere at 2200 hours. We first met Flt Lt Browell and dropped off our kit. We were then introduced to the other cadets we would be spending the weekend with. There was only one other cadet corporal participating in the silver award. Then due to severe tiredness we went to bed. The Saturday morning we awoke to a yummy breakfast being cooked by Flt Lt Browell and more importantly; the prospect of a training walk ahead of us. After a short drive to Ambleside we arrived at the destination, and got ready to walk. We were given maps and compasses which were essential equipment for the weekend. We then set off, starting by pacing out 100 metres then stopping to check our distance and accuracy. Our next task was to navigate to a small point on the map then to stop. This was an individual task with the other members of the group not knowing where the selected destination was. So this was when the map and compass became essential. This was fairly straight forward, but was due to get harder as this was one of the criteria needed for passing our Silver NNAS. We had a tough morning then sat down for lunch. Here we discovered that the sticky out things in Nathan’s rucksack were aerials for amateur radio. Nathan and Brian talked to the mum and a few family friends. Brian was keen to claim the hill, he then let us talk to one of his friends on the radio who had a funny accent.