Soldiers put to the test in Peak District military exercise

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Soldiers were put to the test in a gruelling Army exercise in the Peak District which is set to become an annual competition.

The Peak District National Park Authority gave permission for the inaugural event, which was aimed at testing the physical and mental strength of soldiers from the 7th Infantry Brigade, which is made up of regular and reserve units.

The 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales Regiment, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment and 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards all competed.

Soldiers were tested in a range of combat fitness, military and leadership skills during the challenge, which was organised to allow soldiers to showcase their abilities.

It also acted as training for Exercise Cambrian Patrol - NATO’s toughest military skills competition, which is to be held later this month.

The competition saw the soldiers march at speed across the Peak District carrying 20 – 30 pound back packs and being assessed at a series of military stands along the way.

They had to cross a river without boats or bridges and the teams were tested on their communication and navigation skills.

Points were awarded for the time it took the different units to complete the route and teams were scored on their military, tactics, situational awareness, command and leadership.

Major Andy Watson, 7th Infantry Brigade’s Chief of Staff, said: “It was an arduous but rewarding competition and a real test of stamina, determination and character.

“The Peak District was unfamiliar to many of our soldiers, thus testing their leadership and navigation skills to the full, ahead of Exercise Cambrian Patrol.

“We appreciated the co-operation of the Peak District National Park Authority and the land owners who allowed us to train there.”

It was the first time 7th Infantry Brigade had used the Peak District for military training but the competition is now set to become an annual event.

The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment clinched gold and silver, the regiment’s 2nd Battalion scooped bronze and its 3rd Battalion - the Regiment’s reserve unit - was crowned Best Reserves.