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New Adventurous Training centre opens to produce Army's future leaders

Today at the Halton Training Camp in Lancaster, the ribbon was cut to officially open the Army’s brand-new Adventurous Training facilities by Major General Richard Clements CBE, Director Basing and Infrastructure.

This marks the start of a new era for the Joint Service Mountain Training Wing of the Army Adventurous Training Group that had been based at Deverell Barracks in Ripon, North Yorkshire for over 30 years.

Adventurous Training is much more than simply learning to sail or ski; It is challenging training that stretches individuals & enables them to confront physical, mental & emotional stress, and grow in self-confidence as a result.

During today’s ceremony Major General (Maj Gen) Richard Clements CBE said: “I am delighted to open the Joint Service Mountain Training Wing at Halton which marks the successful completion of the first project under the Defence Estate Optimisation, Army Programme.”

The Defence Estate Optimisation (DEO) Portfolio is a long-term, £4.3Bn investment to modernise the Ministry of Defence Estate and today’s opening marks the completion of this £9m project; the first within the DEO Army Programme.

Maj Gen Clements CBE continued: “My priority is investing in and delivering first class infrastructure to create an environment that improves the ‘Live, Work, Train’ experience for our Service personnel. I look forward to hearing about how the facilities continue to transform the training provision we offer.”

Picking up the keys to their new home in April this year, the staff have been busy setting the facilities up and unpacking the 5000 items of clothing and equipment that were moved before kicking off their summer season of world class Adventurous Training (AT).

With 48 new student bed spaces, the 2000 students who undertake AT with the wing each year will take full advantage of the 1578 square metres of new, sustainable, adventurous training space that is now offer.

The Joint Service Mountain Training Wing Halton (JSMTW(H)) boasts new offices, stores, Headquarters, a briefing room, and classrooms. Furthermore, an existing building has been refurbished to create an activity centre to accommodate the specialist indoor training equipment; including a high ropes facility, a six metre climbing wall and even a caving simulator.

Speaking after today’s ceremony, Commander of the Army AT Group, Colonel Neil Wilson said: “The opening of such fabulous, purpose built AT facilities, ideally located for easy access to the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales, is a reflection of the importance the Army places on AT as a vehicle for Leadership development. Through the controlled exposure to risk in an outdoor environment, we aim to enhance the leadership qualities of our soldiers and build their resilience to withstand the stresses and shocks they can expect to face on operations and in training.  

The Joint Service Mountain Training Centre (JSMTC) delivers Mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, canoeing, Mountain Biking, kayaking and paragliding, and with some of the world’s best caves on their doorstep the wing is now the Caving Centre for Defence.

Commanding Officer of JSMTC, Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Painting said: “Our new Halton Wing gives us access to some of best training locations in the Lake District. In addition to delivering all of the Joint Service Adventurous Training activities, the Halton Wing is our specialist Caving wing. The Caving activity facilitates some of the most testing conditions that can be found within AT as it very quickly demands our Service People manage their own fears in-order-to remain effective as an individual and as a team member.”

Whilst our Service People may not be underground in a cave system when on operations, they will undoubtedly be outside of their comfort zones and will need to make important decisions under very testing conditions.

On this important occasion for the Army and Defence, DEO Project & Programme Manager Richard Asbery said: “The JSMTW Halton Project is the first to be delivered by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation as part of the DEO Portfolio. The investment this project has introduced to Halton Training Camp demonstrates a real commitment to improving the experience of Adventurous Training for our Soldiers”.

With the new wing now open and operational, the team in Halton are looking forward to a busy summer of delivering world class Adventurous Training to all ranks.