On the 11th July 2014, Cdt Sgt Saikat (19) set off along with 9 other cadets from the West of Scotland Wing to participate in the nijmegen international 4 day marches in the Netherlands.
The marches consist of having to cover an average of 25 miles per day in full military uniform and, in the case of any male aged 19 or over, carrying training sessions and had completed the grueling 50 mile qualifier at Garelochhead.
On arrival at nijmegen, the cadets were able to get settled in and for the first 3 days they got to enjoy their stay in nijmegen where they went into town, visited museums and went to local restaurants. On the Tuesday morning however, it was a different story. The team were due to start marching shortly past 4 in the morning, therefor this meant they had to get out of bed at 2am!
When the first day of the marches finally arrived, the team managed to get themselves right at the front of the entire British military contingent, and so had the privilege of being the first British team to start the marches this year! Even at this early in the morning, the streets were already crowded with people supporting us and wishing us all well to the very end.
As the miles passed by, the heat and the pain only ever increased, but the team pulled each other through and tried to take in the atmosphere as much as possible. By the end of day two, the team were really starting to suffer and when day three arose, the team had lost one of their members due to illness.
Day four was the hottest day of the marches. However, this did mean that everyone who was previously carrying weight were allowed to drop their weight as it was considered a health hazard due to the heat.
The scorching heat and high humidity did seriously affect the teams performance. When they passed water buckets or sprinklers it was always a pleasant surprise. The last five or so miles of the march were the hardest and the team had to dig deep to get to the finish!
After 100 miles of pain, sweat and misery, they had finished and were awarded with their medals. All the remained was for the team to do the 4.5km victory march.
Despite all the pain that the team were in, the atmosphere and the pride of having completed this achievement was overwhelming. The streets were lined up with rows of people all cheering the teams and partying!
When the team finally crossed the finish line, they could finally relax and get a bus back to camp. The scales of what they had accomplished was just beginning to sink in. Now it was time to award the best cadet: Sgt Saikat for his determination and his attitude towards helping the team.