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'Round Britain Challenge' Arrives In Cardiff

STS Lord Nelson stopped in the Welsh capital as part of an event Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge.

A tall ship carrying a group of injured veterans and cadets around the UK has made its third stop.

The vessel stopped in Cardiff, as part of an event called Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge.

Ten days ago, STS Lord Nelson was in Belfast – ready for the third crew of Lord Dannatt's Round Britain Challenge to take her from Northern Ireland to Wales.

The ship is run by charity the Jubilee Sailing Trust and is specially adapted allowing anyone from any background or ability to sail her.

The Challenge is giving more than 40 wounded, injured and sick veterans and over 90 Army cadets in total the chance to join forces to form four crews.

Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge
Thirty days into her 40-day adventure, and there have been plenty of memories made.

Megan, one of the Army cadets on board told Forces News about the experience: "You feel like a pirate a bit, and I think that was probably the best thing because we just got to really have the experience of working on a ship and learning new things.

"Being a member of the crew has been the best part of it I think."

Army cadet, Anthony, talked about some of the trip's highlights: "We saw phosphorescent dolphins…and the sunrises were beautiful.

"On one of the watches we had dolphins follow us for an hour and a half, just jumping all around, it was amazing."

Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge
The veterans and cadets have crewed this ship 24 hours a day with the support of military charities.

Crew number three have worked hard sailing Lord Nelson from Belfast to Cardiff.

Tom Knight, Walking With The Wounded, highlighted the benefits of cadets and veterans working together: "It was good that the veterans were able to mentor the cadets, because a lot of these cadets are looking to join the military, so they had [a lot] of questions, and they were able to ask them…I think that it worked really well."

Nick Cohen, Royal Navy veteran, said: “We came on board not knowing anybody on here… and we’ve made some really close friendships on board between veterans and cadets which has been amazing.

“The actual voyage itself has been interesting, we’ve seen dolphins and been to Ireland, and Northern Ireland, and back to Wales and Cardiff which has been a very different experience.”

In Cardiff's Britannia Quay the crew had just a few more jobs to complete before they handed over.

For them and their families it was a chance to reflect on just how much they have achieved.

Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge

Army cadet Olivia conquered her fear of heights: “I touched the top [of the mast] and I was so proud of myself. I felt on top of the world.

“I feel like I can conquer more now I’ve done that. I’d like to go skydiving now. That’ll be my next step I think.”  

Her family talked about how proud they were: “She has been really afraid of heights, but to see her climbing up there like that is just incredible.”

Veteran Mark Arnold was pleased to see the cadets were not fazed by the lack of technology available: “When you haven’t got WiFi and you haven’t got a phone signal, and you see the cadets just cracking on with life as if nothing else matters.

“It’s brilliant to see that life does not revolve around technology anymore. Back to old ways of pulling ropes and finding something to entertain yourself when technology’s not there.”   

Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge
As is now tradition with this challenge, the cadets and veterans were welcomed to their 3rd UK capital with a parade.
Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge
There was also a presentation of the third piece of a memorial shield.

It will be completed in 10 days’ time and go on display in the Tower of London to commemorate the voyage.

Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge

For Lord Dannatt, the patron of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, it is already making an impact: “Just listening to their conversation, listening to the buzz around the ship, with the parade we’ve just had, listening to some of the young cadets talk about their experiences…

“They’ve all been challenged, they’ve all been taken out of their comfort zone, and I think they’ve learnt a lot about themselves, they’ve learnt a lot about their shipmates, and I think that all breeds for increasing confidence for their next steps in life.”   

The fourth and final crew of Lord Dannatt's Round Britain Challenge have now joined the ship, nervous and apprehensive about what lies ahead.

By the start of September, they will be in London as Lord Nelson is welcomed home from her 40-day adventure.