Both competitors had experience of endurance events, Tpr Hinchcliffe having completed over 30 marathon distance events, but neither had experienced anything quite like it. The OMM (as it’s known to those in the know) has a variety of course options available; the HCav pair opted for the A Course (second only to the internationally renowned Elite Course), which, as the crow flies, would be 65km of orienteering over the dank Scottish hills. On race day itself, the Friday sun had been replaced with quintessential late-Autumnal Scottish drizzle and the initial three mile walk to the start line did little to settle the nerves.
hill, and the shocking visibility (about 20-30ft) did little to help the pair find the small orange control point. Some savvy navigation ensured CP1 was found in good order and next came a mammoth leg to CP2. As the control points were slowly ticked off the list it grew more and more obvious to the pair that this event would take more than fitness to get through. The often terrible ground littered with not baby’s heads but rather giant’s heads and the poor visibility made going very difficult indeed. Despite the conditions, 9 hours and 20 minutes after starting the first day the pair made it to the overnight remote campsite.
True to OMM form the first checkpoint was at the top of a rather large boggy
A damp restless night spent in an ultralightweight tent just about gave the pair the rest they needed before embarking on another long day. The OMM organisers lulled the teams into a false sense of security by placing CP1 on a knoll next to a comfortable trail path but this security was quickly dashed by another long climb up a steep Scottish slope. The pair got into their stride better on day two and made good speed reaching the numerous checkpoints littered around the countryside. The low cloud of yesterday lifted on occasion and revealed a truly spectacular scenery, and for a few moments the pair almost felt like they were enjoying the ordeal. This sense of enjoyment quickly evaporated as they stood at the foot of yet another looming climb. A strong finish meant that day two was finished a few places better than the first day and the pair therefore climbed up in the overall standings; finishing 19th out of the 24 teams who actually completed the whole course. The fact that the Royal Navy pair did not complete the second
Tpr Hinchcliffe using all methods to get down the hill
day made the result even more satisfying. This event really does test the core skills of being a soldier better than any other; it takes more than just physical and mental stamina to complete the route. Navigation, sound military judgement and keeping a sense of humour when the going gets tough are all required to cross the line after two days of hard graft. We would like to thank the chain of command from both regiments for allowing us to take part in such a worthwhile event and we hope that more members of the regiment will be keen to take part next year. It really is worth it.
Looking slightly worse for wear and bewildered at the end of the course
Exercise YANKEE CONVERSION: HCR/HCMR Rugby Tour to USA
by Lieutenant B Titman, The Blues and Royals
he Household Cavalry rugby team had not toured for almost five years and in preparation for the 2016/17 season, the rugby club took the opportunity to embark on a pre-season tour of the USA. Having recently returned refreshed from summer leave, 25 officers and soldiers from across the Household Cavalry travelled to Boston on Monday 12th September ready to play some of the United States’ biggest clubs. The tour was split into three locations: four nights in Boston, two in Princeton and the final five in New York. Having landed the day before and still jetlagged from the change of time zone, the HCRFC played their first game against Mystic River RFC on the second night of their stay in Boston. Still sore from
the morning’s dust-off the team tentatively warmed up as the 75 man strong opposition squad appeared from their various modes of transport. It quickly dawned on the Household Cavalrymen that Mystic River RFC were last season’s USA Divisional one champions and the hawk-eyed recce soldiers in the team even noticed three international players amongst their ranks. The first half was played at an incredible pace on the artificial 3G surface with the opposition taking a solid lead into half time, with only a determined effort from the HCav defence stopping it becoming a rout. The second half saw Mystic River change their entire team for ‘fresh legs’. HCRFC came out hard in the second half and again put up a valiant defensive effort and even managed to score a
The squad is formed up for a team talk before the first game against Mystic River RFC
couple of tries in the process. Although the final result was a 71-10 loss, the squad did walk off the pitch with their heads held high knowing that despite playing a superior opponent they never gave in and kept running until the final whistle. Our Man of the Match went
Household Cavalry Sports Round-up ■ 79