A daredevil challenge in the wilds of the remote Rocky Mountains has equipped an army instructor with essential survival skills.
Lee Simpson, 30, successfully completed a 12-day military training exercise alongside colleagues from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
The major Army challenge saw him kayaking through rapids while guarding against the threat of wild bears in an exercise designed to develop leadership skills and courage.
Participants had to paddle more than 60 miles carrying all the equipment and food required to live in the remote backwoods of Canada.
“It’s been a challenge of a lifetime,” said Lee Simpson, a former pupil of Rossington Comprehensive School.
“I’ve had a number of opportunities to do Army Adventurous Training before, but this was quite incredible. To be able to experience the vastness of the Canadian wilderness in comparison to the United Kingdom and paddle through it was amazing.”
Exercise Canpaddle involved training on white water on the Kananaskis and Red Deer Rivers, developing safety and rescue techniques including swimming in fast-flowing rivers. Soldiers also developed survival techniques relevant to staying alive in an area known for its black and grizzly bears.
Lee, who works at the Army Training Regiment at Pirbright in Surrey as an instructor, said he was delighted with what had been achieved.
“Canoeing in Canada is very challenging in comparison to the UK,” said Lee.
“It has much bigger water and risks associated with running the rivers. Every day is unique, just as it is in my day job working in a recruit-training establishment where you often need to pause and take in what is required of you before you act. The Canada expedition has taught me to relax more and think things through before acting thus helping me make the right decision the first time round.”