With only a day of the two week camp left we were all given the chance to go into Dundee in the daytime. Obviously we had been into Dundee for a night out which being in university freshers week made for a good venture. Today though, was the first chance to see Dundee in the daytime and to find out what it had to offer.
There are a few notable tourist attractions but with the very limited time I had I chose to see the RSS Discovery. As it was Captain Scott's famous ship I was very interested to see it and was never aware that it was based in Dundee. The whole Discovery visitor centre has some excellent displays on Antarctic exploration and Scott's expedition, and you can then go on board to see the ship and the cabins used by Scott and his crew. The hardships endured by Scott and his crew were unimaginable, particularly in the failed return from the South Pole.
One more day of R&R and it was the day of the long trek. Memories of days of guard duty, 6 AM starts, military training and seemingly pointless tasks were rapidly fading away as the fun element of the two weeks came to the fore. Guard duty did throw up a few laughs though. I was tasked with guard duty with 5 others and we each had an separate guard point around the firing range. This can be very boring particularly if you are unlucky enough to have to guard a main entrance point. Up down, up down as you continually have to check the credentials of people entered and then to give them access.
However, some spots are very idyllic such as the locations that I managed to get for myself. Sitting in the hut on the beach looking out for boats was a fantastic spot for guard duty. All that had to be done was to watch the sea in the bright morning sunlight and listen to the waves lapping on the beach and immerse yourself in your own thoughts.
However, some chaps got a little too bored and the next day before being tasked with our guard duties the unit sergeant major addressed us all. Apparently there are a number of cameras placed at strategic locations around the training area. We were told that some of the activities of the chaps from the day before were spotted. Cue nervous laughter.
Just a note, if on guard you should stay sharp and it was stressed that if you want to spank your monkey do it before going on guard.
The whole reason I was in Dundee was to participate in a two week military training camp. To be more precise, I was at a barracks called Barry Buddon which is just outside of Dundee. Most of the two weeks was spent learning and refreshing military skills plus regiment specific skills such as guiding in a helicopter to deliver or take a load. There was also a lot of range work and fire and manoeuvre target shooting which can be exhausting. Imagine doing this for real!
This particular exercise involved patrolling about 800 meters and putting into effect the drills we had learned. The basic drill is to return some shots, dash, get down, move and return fire. Doing this with maximum effort on a hot day with your helmet slipping down and sweat dripping into your eye makes you realise what combat can be like. Obviously we weren't being fired at but this experience in itself brings home just how fit a soldier needs to be.
The last few days involved rest and recreation where we participated in hill walking, rock climbing and sailing.
After you've experienced my delights or horrors of United Kingdom, see what the destinations below may have in store for you.