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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



02 July 2015

Trained ranks from across RMR Scotland descended on Glasgow Detachment on a recent Friday night in preparation for Exercise Commando Survivor, a weekend’s introduction to Survival techniques in a temperate climate.

Once everyone had arrived, we got a brief on the outline of the weekend ahead before getting a few hours’ sleep in the bank.

Up at early-o-clock, and following an intro survival lecture, all loaded up the vehicles and moved to Garelochhead, and with no surprise the weather was heavy rain and strong winds….. just the norm for Garelochhead! 

On arrival we started straight into our demonstrations/lessons, consisting of the construction of various types of shelters, methods of navigation, water collection, how to start and maintain fires and also how to construct and set traps and snares. We were also taught the fine art of dispatching various animals in preparation for cooking.

By late afternoon, all the ‘teach’ phase was over we were led onto the ‘exercise’ area by the training team. After a flurry of activity, our shelters were constructed (The Training Officer remarked on how the Belfast Detachment shelter was the best he had ever seen) and, with fires lit, the training team distributed a couple of chickens per group. Once dispatched, the mandatory puppeteer impressions ensued before cooking the chickens. With scran down-range, we all settled down for a Saturday evening watching Pussers TV in our 5-star accommodation. 

Our work routine throughout the night consisted of one team member awake per shelter at any one time to maintain the fire and make sure it stayed lit – a fairly sustainable routine allowing for some much needed shut eye but also allowing someone to keep an eye on the structural integrity of the shelter in the somewhat harsh winds and rain – at least the weather was keeping the notorious midges at bay!!

After a fairly comfortable night, the training team returned in the morning to find morale disappointedly high and all returned to Glasgow Detachment for a well earned Dhobi. 

Overall, albeit a short introduction to survival, it was a very enjoyable weekend with some very important skills learnt by all. Our look forward will be to build upon these skills and hopefully progress to a longer survival exercise involving some Escape & Evasion….