Former cadet with love of adventure now heads to Antarctica for six months

27 Oct 2022

Clare on the CCAT Nordic Skiing Course on the Hardangervidda plateau in Norway in 2017.

 

A former CCF cadet is setting off for an incredible six-month job in Antarctica, and has credited her time in the RAF Section of King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth, Lincolnshire for nurturing her adventurous spirit. 

Clare Ballantyne will be helping to run the world’s most remote post office for six months after beating 6000 applicants to the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust job. 

The Oxford University graduate has just completed a Master’s in Earth Science and sets off for Goudier Island on Monday October 31 along with three others. The journey to their destination in Port Lockroy will take around a week, via Chile. 

But it was a CCF trip to Norway in 2017 that helped form the idea of living and working in colder climes. 

“I was on a Nordic Skiing course on the Hardangervidda plateau and got up early one morning to see the sun rise,” explained the 23-year-old. 

“It was white everywhere you looked and so beautiful and I thought I’d love to experience more of this in the future. 

“Doing that course set me on the trajectory to where I am now. The courses I completed at cadets certainly fuelled the love of travel and adventure that helped me land this dream job. I can't recommend enough getting involved with opportunities at cadets and also checking out those with the University Officers' Training Corps." 

Clare accomplished plenty after joining CCF in Y9 at King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth, and she earmarked that trip as the highlight of her busy time as a cadet. 

In fact, her unit had nicknamed her CCAT, because Clare was always booking courses through the Cadet Centre for Adventurous Training. 

Clare completed White Water Kayaking, Basic Rock Climbing and Caving courses as well as the Nordic Skiing expedition. She was also in the Marching Band. 

Clare rose to the rank of Sergeant before leaving in Y13 and said she enjoyed creating fun events for others to take part in. 

“We used to have treasure hunts around the school grounds and also concealment training, which was a bit like a big game of hide and seek. The most important thing was everything was accessible and fun and I really enjoyed it. 

“I’d say to anyone thinking of taking part to go for it because the more you get involved the more you will enjoy. There’s something for everyone.” 

Squadron Leader Paul Reeve remembers Clare while from his time at King Edward VI Grammar School CCF. 

“She was a dedicated cadet SNCO who inspired those around her and certainly led by example,” said Squadron Leader Reeve, who is now the OC at CCF (RAF) Training Evaluation & Support Team East. 

“Clare throws herself at every opportunity. During her time as an RAF Cadet she graduated from the Air Cadet Leadership Course and completed the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme up at Tayside Aviation.  

“Her attitude and ability were always going to land her with something quirkily incredible, and we all wish her well on Clare's next amazing adventure.” 

Follow the UK Antarctic blog for updates on Clare’s adventure before she returns to the UK in March 2023. 

By Julian Turner

Digital Journalist at RAFAC HQ

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