Captain Bill Holland 678 (RIfles) Sqn 6 AAC
Towards the end of October , I was fortunate enough to secure a place at very short notice, only 1 week before flying from Heathrow, on a Army Mountain Trekking Expedition to Solu Kumbu Region of Nepal to climb the MERA Peak an impressive 6476m mountain that dominates the Hinku Valley to the south of Mount Everest. I will be joining 9 other excited mountaineers next Tuesday at the home of 4 AAC, based in Wattersham, which happens to be our paired unit under FR2020′ the ten mountaineers I have been told have various degrees of experiences and ages, most of the members coming from from 4 AAC, to reward them after their busy recent Op Herrick tour. Captain Tom Stack an Apache Pilot with 4 AAC, is the leader and organiser who crafted this impressive trip over the past year.
Thursday I got to meet Tom, at Bicester loan pool stores and assisted him in the collection of ten, individual sets of high altitude walking and climbing equipment required for this EX Ped. As always this is an important event and can be a time consuming task, checking the cleanliness and serviceability of every piece of equipment for the whole team to use successfully whilst on the mountain. Many items got rejected by us and quickly changed by ‘Angie’ especially the walking and high altitude boots ? to ensure we had the best start in the Army loaned equipment category in Nepal. My High altitude mountain experience over 25 years has been, Alps, High Atlas, Canada Rockies, USA, Norway and more recently Kilimanjaro, with some great civilians and 3 x amputee soldiers on a charity mission, as well as last year reaching Point Lenana on Mount Kenya with a group of Scots Guards, happy to say the photo was very guardsman like on the top. I have gained over the years my MLT and JSML scheme award and have organised SMF Summer Mountain Foundation courses in Wales and Cyprus. Basically I do like the mountains of the world, and being with like minded persons.
I have four days now to prepare my personal items and paperwork that I will take, to supplement the good quality loan pool stores equipment we now have. A trip like this is quite costly and can be very daunting to anybody, it should cost around £3000, however being partly self sufficient with experienced military personnel in the group, the Army manages to reduce it considerably to £1000. So I have quickly being asking for small grants from my immediate local fund lines and have been able to reduce the amount considerably, being in the Army Mountaineering Association also helps reduce your personal contributions. In repayment for these kind gestures I will continue a blog where possible, also give a swift short 30 min presentation on our experiences when I return to the bold funders. So to close for now, from one Tuesday helping organise a Lord Lieutenants Awards in High Wycombe to the very next Tuesday getting on a plane and flying to Nepal it has to be Army be the Best.
Look out for the next edition next week!!!
For more information on 678 (RIfles) Sqn 6 AAC please visit: http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/armyreserve/678riflessquadronaac6regtaac.aspx