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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland


21 February 2017

Army Cadets from across North Down spent the weekend at the Ballykinler Cadet Training Centre taking part in the Bateson’s Challenge Military Skills Competition - an annual competition where local cadets can test their skills, try new things and challenge themselves in cadet activities with their friends and team mates.


( Above: Cadet Lance Corporal Dylan Murphy, also from Bangor Detachment.)

The real competition started early on the Saturday morning where, in teams of 8, the cadets spent the day making their way around ten stands set up to test them in their Military Knowledge, Field Craft and First Aid and also to test their teamwork and leadership.

(Above: Oscar winning performances from Recruits, Cadet Kimberley Kirk and Cadet Lauren Wiggins from Comber Detachment, who piled on the drama as casualties on the First Aid task.)

The weather was typical for the time of year and all of the cadets (and the adult volunteers) felt the cold – everyone was glad they had packed their thermals, gloves, woolly hats and thick socks. The cadets weren’t deterred, however and kept going all day, taking on each new challenge as they came to it with typical good spirits.

Joseph Nickell (pictured above), 16 from Donaghadee Detachment said:

“The overall competition was testing but it was very enjoyable and a brilliant experience. My favourite stand was the section attack stand because you can put as much enthusiasm into it as you want.”

Some of the teams were made up of very junior cadets who had never competed in cadet competition before. Their enthusiasm and energy was bountiful and the lack of experience didn’t deter them from giving their all. 

(Pictured above: Cadet Alice Magill, Cadet Shannon Heron, Cadet Jack Stewart and Cadet Niall McCoughey from Peninsula Detachment - looking forward to their first competition.)


Cadet Lance Corporal Hollie Large, 15 from Dundonald Detachment (pictured above with Cadet Lance Corporal Joel Coll, 14 Dundonald) said:

"It was competitive, but fun – especially winning! The stands were amazing but my personal favourites were the stalk and the command task”. 

(Also pictured above: Holywood Detachment donning the HAZ MAT suits to clear "hazardous material" from the area, as part of the Command Task.)

The final task on the Sunday was the March and Shoot. The cadets had to complete a mile run, followed by a controlled shoot on the 100 metre range.


(Pictured above left: Comber Detachment enjoying their run; above right: Newly promoted Cadet Colour Sergeant (and natural shot) Rebecca Harrision, 17 from Gransha Detachment - on the range, doing what she does best.)

Company Commander, Major Colin Forrester summed the weekend up:

"The best part of the competition for me was seeing everyone pull together to make it work. From the cadets taking part in the stands to the adult instructors giving up their time and putting the hard work to get everything up and running. I’m proud to be OC of such a great company”

(Pictured above: Holding the Shield! Cadet Lance Corporal Hollie Large -14, Cadet Lance Corporal Billy Hagen -15, Cadet Lance Corporal Alyson Scott - 14, Cadet Corporal Conan MacGillivray - 16, Cadet Company Sergeant Major David Cooley - Cadet Lance Corporal Connor McMullan - 15, Cadet Lance Corporal Joel Coll - 15 and Cadet Younesse Ainouche - 13 - from Dundonald and Sullivan Detachments.) 

The Bateson’s shield was won by a combination team from Dundonald and Sullivan Detachment, with Donaghadee Detachment coming in second place out of nine teams. 


(Above left: - The Runners up from Donaghadee Detachment, ABOVE RIGHT: - The Winners of the Channing Day Aid Trophy, Gransha / Bangor Detachment)

The competition also holds a Channing Day Memorial Shield, in honour of a former local cadet and Army Medic who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012 – the First Aid competition was won by Gransha Detachment. 

There is also a trophy for the best scores in the March and Shoot – This year the scores were tied and Bangor Detachment and Dundonald / Sullivan Detachment get to share the trophy.

The Army Cadets offers young people the opportunity to make new friends, to build personal confidence, try adventure sports and outdoor activities and gain nationally recognised qualifications along the way. 

If you want to join, call freephone 0800 730730 for more information.