HMS IRON DUKE test their mettle on Ex Stavanger Goose

Storyline: Adventurous Training

HMS Iron Duke requested the assistance of the Deployable Regional Unit (DRU) whilst on a visit to Norway to conduct Adventurous Training for the ship's company.

Whilst the primary aim of the visit to Norway was to conduct sea trials, the ship’s Command team also saw an opportunity to conduct Adventurous Training (AT) for the ship’s company in arguably one of the most beautiful and rugged parts of the world to conduct outdoor activities.

This challenging environment enabled the DRU team the opportunity to draw upon their wealth of AT experience to plan and lead various activities, including Summer Mountaineering at Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) at Frafjord, and Indoor Climbing. The range of activities and the enviable Scandinavian landscape allowed the participants to experience everything AT can offer within a timeframe that was delivered without impacting the Ship’s programme. 

For many of the younger members of the Ship’s company, this was their first exposure to AT. It provided an invaluable opportunity for them to develop physical and leadership skills while providing a welcome respite to their daily routines on board. The level of uptake saw over a third of the ship’s company participating, and the provision of activities was roundly well received. 

LH Hunter mentioned that AT activities were: “an exhilarating experience, challenging and an absolute must. The best time I have had yet in the Navy!”

Ascending Pulpit Rock stood out as a highlight for many participants, with its formidable challenge met by its breathtaking view across the Lysefjorden and its stunning surroundings. Moreover, the team enthusiastically embraced Frafjord’s picturesque lakes during the SUP activities. 

Paddleboarding allowed the team to explore these serene waters, immersing themselves in the area's natural beauty. Additionally, the group delved into the world of indoor climbing. This exciting challenge tested their physical and mental abilities as they scaled the walls, further reinforcing their camaraderie and mutual support. Indoor climbing, with its elements of strategy and strength, provided an enriching experience that complemented the outdoor adventures. 

The AT package delivery was supported by the Iron Duke’s Command, which recognised the benefits of challenging activities aimed at pushing personnel to excel in demanding environments yet to enjoy learning new skills individually and as a team. 

These experiences, from conquering Pulpit Rock to gliding on the tranquil lakes and tackling the indoor climbing walls, underscored the Ship’s company’s commitment to growth, unity, and the pursuit of new skills in the face of challenging environments which will significantly benefit the crew during their upcoming deployment. 

WO McNeil Iron Duke EWO said: “For me, it was the shared hardship and enjoyment that the team had simultaneously; the bonding, encouragement and determination is what the service is about. Instilling the Core Values and challenging ourselves whilst building memories to look back on in years to come will hopefully strengthen the retention of our sailors. We need more of this!”

DRU deliver AT in the UK and overseas and will design a bespoke package to suit the needs of a ship or establishment. A combination of physically and mentally challenging training activities aids personal development, including fitness, leadership, and team building.

For me it was the shared hardship and enjoyment that the team had at the same time, the bonding, encouragement and determination is what the service is about.

WO McNeil