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Injured Veterans And Cadets Sail Into Edinburgh

The crew plan to sail a specially adapted tall ship to every capital city in the UK to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War...

A group of injured veterans and cadets have arrived in Edinburgh as part of a challenge to visit every capital city in the UK.

It's part of a challenge called 'Lord Dannatt's Round Britain Challenge', which was set up by the former Head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Over the next 40 days, 96 cadets and 48 veterans will sail a specially adapted tall ship to every capital city in the UK.

The trip will hit the capital cities of Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff and will end up back in London.

In each capital, events will be held to remember the 100 year anniversary since the end of the First World War.

The journey between every city is 10 days, with crew personnel changing at every port. 

Forces News reporter Ali Gibson was on board the ship on the River Thames in London to speak to the JST Chief Executive Duncan Souster:

"They're organised into four, what we call watches - teams of 10 and together that watch will be on duties at various points during the day and the ship runs 24/7. 

"So they might get made to go on duty at two or four in the morning and when they're on watch, they'll be responsible for navigating, helming the ship, keeping look out.   

"At other points of the day they'll be given other activities like setting sails, cooking for their crewmates, even cleaning the ship.   

"[In the watch] a younger person will be buddied up with one of the veterans and that immediately fosters teamwork as they'll be given tasks together." 

Video: Reporter Ali Gibson was in London to see the group set sail for Edinburgh on 26th July. 

The first crew - made up of British and Australian cadets -sailed the Lord Nelson over 400 nautical miles from London to Edinburgh. 

Sergeant Marc Hague, of the Army Cadet Force, said: "There was a few times when I was scared of climbing up the mast and going out onto the yards."

Fellow cadet, Lance Corporal Cassidy Parker-Smith, added: "First couple of days were rough because of the weather and the scenery but then it calmed down. We were climbing the rigging, we climbed to the top of there and had support throughout with the vets.

"It was absolutely incredible."

The Lord Nelson arrived in Leith docks in Edinburgh eight days after leaving London. 

While in the Scottish capital, the cadets visited Edinburgh Castle to watch the famous One O'Clock Gun and attended a remembrance service inside the Scottish National War Memorial. 

Before going their separate ways, the cadets reflected on what the journey meant to them. 

Lance Corporal Matthew Austin, of the Army Cadet Force, said: "I've made better friends with some of the veterans and people on the ship in these past 10 days than I have with people I've had in the last 10 years of my life.

"And to see it all come to an end - it's emotional."

Corporal Daniel Burgess added: "It might have just been 10 days but everyone's made friends. They're pretty much family now."

Cadet Under Officer Karl Derndorfer and Cadet Under Officer Owen Brond, of the Australian Cadets, also spoke about how brilliant the journey had been. 

Cdt Brond said: "The team work skills that I've developed and making new friends with people I've met - instantly becoming friends with them - it's great to be able to fit in so well with a great group of people and that's something I'll take back and remember forever."