Morley reservist survives and thrives on Norway winter exercise

LAC Amanda Hall on Exercise Wintermarch 2016
LAC Amanda Hall on Exercise Wintermarch 2016

An RAF reservist from Drighlington is now trained to survive harsh Arctic conditions after completing a tough military exercise.

Amanda Coutanche-Hall, 49, travelled to Norway to take part in the tough Wintermarch challenge under the guidance of top Scandinavian survival experts.

Amanda, who in civilian life is a business manager at a legal consultancy, also learned how to ski cross-country, a sport she had never experienced before, as well as cold weather injury prevention and avalanche survival techniques.

After joining the RAF Reserves in 2014, Amanda became a personnel support specialist with No.611 Squadron West Lancashire, who are based at RAF Woodvale.

“Wintermarch has definitely been one of the highlights of my reservist career so far. It’s the kind of opportunity that you wouldn’t necessarily have available to you in civilian life. You’re getting paid to do something enjoyable while training at the same time,” said Amanda.

The former full-time RAF servicewoman had to leave the forces for family reasons, and had always missed military life and the travel opportunities it offers.

“I was a regular in the RAF but had to leave. I always regretted it. When I saw the advert for the Reserves it seemed like the ideal opportunity to still have a family life, but to come back in and ‘do my bit’ as it were.”

She also spotted the chance to learn new skills that would benefit her business management career alongside taking part in exciting challenges.

“It’s a great way to enhance your team-building skills and you’re constantly learning to live and work with many people of different backgrounds and personalities. You have such self-respect and discipline. I think that when an employer hears that you’re a member of the armed forces, they instantly know that you have values and skills that they can use.”

Amanda now holds the rank of Leading Aircraftwoman.

“You can get involved in so many different things in the RAF. You get the opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and find out what you’re really made of,” she added.