Also known as the Cambrian March, the Cambrian Patrol is one of the biggest and arduous events that the British Army holds every year. First started in 1960, the Cambrian Patrol involves various military exercises focusing on leadership, physical fitness, and teamwork. Whilst the event was cancelled this year due to Covid-19, let’s look back at the 60th-anniversary event that took place in 2019. When the Eastern European country of Ukraine took home the silver medal!
Just to get a chance at competing on the Cambrian patrol involves a competition to qualify in itself. According to the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, its team of Ukrainian soldiers who were successful in getting a place amongst over 130 other teams in the competition set off across British mountains in arduous weather as they completed a 50-mile course that needed to be completed in under 48 hours.
In addition to grueling training in the unforgiving British mountains, the team was also involved in another well-known aspect of Cambrian Patrol: counter-terrorism training. Here, the Ukrainian soldiers took part in various exercises that saw them releasing mock hostages from captors as well as crossing mountain rivers and streams with a blood-chilling temperature of just 6 degrees.
Alongside the Ukrainian team were teams representing 28 other armies from NATO and beyond. It’s said that over 1,000 British soldiers from both the regular army and the territorial army also took part in the exercise that year.
The exercise is brutal which means that a large percentage of the teams that take part in Cambrian Patrol do not finish.
The Cambrian Patrol first ran in the summer of 1960. It was founded by Major General Lewis Pugh DSO. The original aim of the exercise was a long distance march across the Cambrian Mountains from Tonfanau on the west coast of Wales. Since the foundation of the military exercise, the Cambrian Patrol has grown to be continuously updated in order to meet the challenges faced by modern soldiers.
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Traditionally, Cambrian March often starts with the various military teams meeting at a designated rendezvous point. Here, they have all of their military equipment checked to ensure they are equipped with everything they need and meet the carry weight requirements. If they don’t, they are issued with dead weight to carry.
The exercise is brutal which means that a large percentage of the teams that take part in Cambrian do not finish. For those that make it to the end, they are awarded one of the four distinctions given to qualifying teams: a medal in either gold, silver, or bronze medal, or a simple pass of the Cambrian March. The Ukrainian team brought home the silver medal.
Photos were provided by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.