Air Training Corps
The Nijmegen Marches normally take place in Holland during the third week in July each year. Months of arduous training are necessary for successful participation. Teams are required to march 40 Km (25 miles approx.), per day for each of four consecutive days, culminating in the "March Past" on the final day. Approximately 11 hours are allowed to complete each day's march; marching starts at about 0430 hours daily. The marches attract approximately 40,000 marchers from some 50 countries each year and, receive very wide press and television coverage.
The 2000 Glasgow and West of Scotland Wing Nijmegen Team.
NIJMEGEN MARCHES 2001
By Cadet Colin Campbell
The Nijmegen four-day marches takes place in Holland and is for both military personnel and civilian walkers. The military route, which we took, consists of 40km a day. It took the Wing team seven months training to prepare for the marches, cutting the initial 50 volunteers down to 17. Training included completing a 50km/2-day qualifier to prove your fitness.
On the 13th of July the seven-team members from the squadron joined up with the rest of the team at Maryhill squadron. From there, we had a ten-mile journey to England before taking the Stena Seacat over to Holland.
When we arrived at camp Heumensoord in Nijmegen, we could barely move for the mud. We then spent the first two days in the town. The march began on the Tuesday with the route taking us through Bemmet, Merm and over the River Waal. Day one was the best of the four days as we enjoyed having the residents of the towns cheering us on and the children running up asking for autographs and souvenirs. On day two we learned that the weather in Holland never knew what it wanted to do. One minute it was raining and the next it was blinding sunlight and burning heat. This made the day harder and less enjoyable. Day three was the worst of the four days. Halfway through the walk Cadet Collins accidentally overbalanced whilst stepping onto a kerb, causing his foot to point one way, and his leg the other. This resulted in a major injury and he had no choice but to pull out. This caused a delay of one hour and meant that we had to finish the third day as quickly as we could to make up for lost time.
Day three also brought the worst of the weather but day four was the hardest because of the hills that earned the day the name, “The Day of the Seven Hills”.
On the final day we agreed that no one else would be allowed to drop out, we would drag him or her to the finish if necessary. We decided to get an early start that day so we got up at 2am to get breakfast, pack our lunches, fill up on water and then head out. As we approached the start, several teams lined the sides of the roads to cheer us on. The rest of the day was then spent in pain as we tried to complete the march. Some of us discussed with other teams what we would like to do to the now annoying children asking for souvenirs. The best part of the day was crossing the bridge that had been built specially for the marches. It was hard to walk on and it was made of a couple of floating boats joined together. The final stretch from the rest camp to the end was the hardest and also the longest.
When we finally reached the end our legs completely gave up on us but we still mustered the strength to receive our medals. That night we packed our bags and went into the town to celebrate. We left the camp at around one in the morning, sleeping on the bus and then taking the Seacat out of Holland and back to Great Britain.
Duke of Edinburgh's Award