Summer phase 2 kicked off in Liverpool and featured some smooth sailing down to Caernarfon, the home of one of the oldest castles in the UK. We were later joined by HMS Express – minus their students. Glasgow and Strathclyde had the honour of being part of the annual Caernarfon Armed Forces Day.
We had the honour of hosting a cocktail party for the highflying folk of the Armed Forces Day Committee and after a few drinks and some pleasantries the day was over. The next task was marching.
Now you may think that walking at a set pace in full 1s isn’t that trying, but remember that 1s are 100% wool. That coupled with the 24° heat it did not make a pleasant experience and, because we were located in the heart of Welsh-speaking Wales, the sermon was given in both Welsh and English. The heat and long service saw many sea cadets and scouts collapse however we pushed on. The reward at the end of such a sweltering day was a cool drink and a free meal at the local pub.
Now because this was a deployment and the fact that the crew and students had pretty much visited every pub in Caernarfon the Boss decided to have a wee jaunt up to Holyhead some 25 kilometres as the bird flies. The weather however didn’t think we needed to leave. Undeterred we plunged on, quite literally, bracing ourselves as we left the safe waters of Caernarfon and headed out to the ‘slightly rough’ sea. Half an hour later we were only a fifth of the way there. Later as we rounded South Stack the swell began to hit us beam on. It was at this point that Chief Rutherford made an appearance. Looking worried, he swiftly kicked Midshipman Wragg off the prized Enclosed Bridge Helm seat. All students were either bracing themselves in the enclosed bridge or were actually too ill to vomit up on the flying bridge.
It was at this point that nature decided we were having it too easy. The ship leaned over to the starboard side. So much so that the boss and the students on the upper bridge were close to having a bath. Thankfully we were nearing the end. We altered course so that the swell was now behind us. This did not help matters much but it did give us a boost, much like Mario’s race-cart running over a speed boost, and soon we entered the safety of Holyhead.
The Boss, now happy that we had gone somewhere, decided that we would return to Caernarfon. Thankfully the ride back to Caernarfon was much smoother than the previous voyage. One last run ashore saw Caernarfon off and gave birth to the Weatherspoon’s Challenge (The victors? – the boys). Next stop Whitehaven where we would depart and welcome the oncoming phase.