Orkney and Shetland cadets at camp

August 18, 2023
Orkney & Shetland Battery on parade.

Army Cadets from Orkney and Shetland headed south on the Northlink Ferry to attend their two-week Annual Camp, this year at Barry Buddon Training Camp near Dundee.

The 15 cadets aged between 13 and 17 – accompanied by four Cadet Force Adult Volunteers – joined with 12 cadets and a further two adults from Orkney.

The two island contingents form Orkney and Shetland Battery as part of 1st Battalion The Highlanders Army Cadet Force and the camp was attended by over 200 cadets and adult volunteers from all over the West Highlands, the Western Isles and the Northern Isles.

On arrival the cadets were allowed time to settle into their accommodation and thoroughly briefed on all aspects of the camp.

Cadets during fieldcraft.
Orkney & Shetland senior cadets on fieldcraft; Vaila Thompson, Brodie Leroux, Danni Crehan, Kyran Wishart, Kira Irvine, Stephen Laurenson and John Falconer.

The following day cadets mustered on the parade square as a Battalion before being sent to their appropriate cadres, which would keep them occupied for most of the following two weeks. Cadets on Annual Camp are allocated cadres dependent on their ‘star level’ with the younger cadets working towards 1 Star and the more experienced, older cadets attempting to earn 2, 3 or 4 Star.

The syllabus follows the same core subjects for each star, but is progressively more complicated as cadets move up a level. Cadets also have the opportunity to earn promotion which mirrors the British Army rank structure.

The cadets learned many new skills as well as revising and practising previously learned subjects. This included the safe handling, firing and maintenance of firearms, air rifle for 1 Star and full bore for the remainder. Time was spent in the field learning how to make shelters, prepare ration packs, patrolling and a variety of other ‘fieldcraft’ activities which saw many of the cadets firing blank ammunition as part of testing. Additionally, cadets were taught and assessed in their navigation abilities. Back in camp there were lessons in first aid, drill, military knowledge and physical fitness, all tested and assessed. Every cadet also had the opportunity to spend some time on adventure training where they experienced rock climbing and mountain biking. The cadets also carried out expedition training which saw them spend time out on the training area walking and camping out for the night. During the middle weekend all the cadets spent a half day in Dundee where they visited Discovery Point.

Cadets on an overnight expedition.
Leighton Mullay, Josh Fyfe and Gregor Richards on overnight expedition training.

There were also promotions on camp with Shetland’s Danni Crehan promoted to Staff Sergeant, Vaila Thompson and Kyran Wishart promoted to Bombardier and Evie Leslie being made a Lance Bombardier. Orkney cadets were also promoted; Brodie Leroux to Bombardier and Madaleine Maclean to Lance Bombardier. The two weeks at camp were spent in mostly warm weather and the long trip home saw some very tired cadets and adults following what was a fun-filled and successful Annual Camp for the Battery. 

Battery Commander Captain Cheryl Haynes said: “Annual camp is a great opportunity for cadets to get onto the mainland and spend two weeks learning the skills that will progress them through the cadet syllabus. For many of the senior cadets they are meeting up with friends made on previous camps whilst the younger cadets make new friendships with young folk from all over the Highlands. It’s very full-on with each day being dedicated to activities whilst the evenings are mostly free for the cadets to socialise and relax. Not only do cadets progress through their star level, they learn to work as a team as well as build their confidence and self-esteem.”

Shetland’s Army Cadets meet in Lerwick every Tuesday at Fort Charlotte and at the Brae Youth Centre every Thursday, both locations 6.45pm-8.45pm. Shetland Troop would like to thank Northlink ferries for their continued support in the form of sponsorship and discounted fares.

Many thanks to Kev Bryant for supplying the images.

Find out more about 1st Battalion The Highlanders ACF.

Orkney & Shetland Battery.
The cadets and adults of Orkney and Shetland Battery.