Troops In Cyprus Take On Tough Terrain In Military Skills Challenge

Soldiers from the Adjutant General's Corps came together for the event in Episkopi.

Soldiers from the Adjutant General's Corps (AGC) in Cyprus have taken on a military skills test in Episkopi.

It is a scaled-down version of the annual Triple Crown Challenge which attracts hundreds of entrants and will take place at Worthy Down Camp, near Winchester, at the end of April.

For those posted to Cyprus, however, it is often difficult to take part.

As one of the largest units in the British Army, the AGC has troops across the island, and they came together in Episkopi to hold a smaller event amongst themselves.

Colonel Suzy Holmes, Corps Colonel, told Forces News: "We've been doing it since about 1997, the AGC was formed in 1992, so a few years after we formed.

"It's just a chance to practise our military skills, for us all to get together, compete against each other."

Soldiers also took part in a 9-millimetre pistol shoot.

The teams had to carry 15 kilos of weight on their backs and complete an eight-mile march, up and down some tough ground, competing against their colleagues and the clock.

"It was hard, the first two miles are kind of the hardest, then the next four are good, but then the last two miles, they're horrendous," said Lance Corporal Melissa Holden from 2 Mercian.

A 9-millimetre pistol shoot followed, with every round counting towards the team's total score.

The soldiers then took on two military skills stands - the first of which involved the re-assembly of an SA-80 assault rifle.

The other involved a camouflage and concealment test as troops were given 10 minutes to spot as many military items as they could see in the undergrowth.

"It's just that bragging rights throughout the year, who gets to take home the trophy and then who gets to defend it the following year," said Captain James Cooke from 2 Mercian. 

"The event is run from Episkopi and then Dkhelia, so whoever is hosting it gets a slight advantage in that they get to sort of lay out the ground rules and the boundaries of how we can perform." 

After five hours of gruelling competition, it was the A Team from the Cyprus Joint Police Unit who picked up the trophy.

For the AGC, much of the focus is now on next month's Corps-wide Triple Crown Challenge.