Gravesend Royal Navy cadets learn the ropes at HMS Collingwood

PUBLISHED: 11:01 11 March 2019

Cadets show their rope skills. Photo: Keith Woodland

Cadets show their rope skills. Photo: Keith Woodland

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Royal Naval cadets from a Gravesend school were really on the ropes when taking part in a major team building programme at HMS Collingwood.

Teamwork is vital to success. Photo: Keith WoodlandTeamwork is vital to success. Photo: Keith Woodland

The naval base played host to nearly eighty cadets from two Combined Cadet Forces.

They included students from Gravesend Grammar School who travelled to the Royal Naval Leadership Academy at HMS Collingwood where instructors tested their mettle on the Academy’s Low Ropes Course.

The navy said the course is skilfully designed to teach groups positive communication and the ability to both fit into and lead a successful team.

The Cadets were split into groups to tackle different obstacles on the course, including the notorious Spider’s Web where they must traverse a series of ropes without touching them.

The cadets at HMS Collingwod. Photo: Keith WoodlandThe cadets at HMS Collingwod. Photo: Keith Woodland

They can do this purely by relying on team members to support them as they go, and success is seen as a major step forward in fully understanding the need and requirement for team mates who know what they are doing.

Another challenge involves swinging across a ‘chasm’ on a rope which, again, cannot be achieved without working closely as a team, they said.

One of the cadets, Isaac Tokura, from Gravesend Grammar, said: “We were there to test our leadership. We stayed at HMS Bristol for the night in a mess deck.

“When staying on the ship it showed us how other marines, navy, cadets live every day.

“There were many activities that were very physical including low ropes, rope swinging, paired tight ropes and silent climbing.

“Although the most favoured part of the day was the assault course that superiors must complete to pass their leadership course and required a lot of team work and effort, making it the most challenging.

“After having reflected on the day, the most important lesson learnt was how crucial teamwork is to succeed and how team members must rise to the occasion and make executive decisions.”

Instructors are on hand to mentor and supervise the cadets, but they are encouraged to find their way round the course themselves, teaching and supporting each other and applying the principles of leadership they’ve been taught.

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