RAFBF Pipes and Drums – Brize Fest RAF100

2018 is the year for a couple of big anniversaries with the end of WW1 being marked in November. But before then there is the celebration of 100 years of the RAF. As part of a series of events being organised this year marking RAF100, our guys travelled to RAF Brize Norton to take part in a massed band event, under the banner of RAFBF Pipes and Drums, for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

A 6 am start saw the lads travelling down the M1 from Leeds to RAF Brize Norton. On arrival, they met Pipe Major Mark Bissett and the rest of the team. 

They joined around 40 other pipers & drummers from across the UK and as far away as Hong Kong. With so many pipers it was necessary to split into smaller groups to allow the Pipe Majors present to divide and conquer the tuning.

The main event was a parade of the massed band through the event site playing Scotland the Brave, Roan Tree, Lochanside and Wings. We made our way to the arena to play Cock O’ the North and Farewell to the Creeks as a circle formed. A brilliant rendition of Highland Cathedral was then played whilst a fly-by took place. We left the field playing the great tunes Green Hills of Tyrol and Battles Over.

RAFBF Pipes and Drums display
RAFBF Pipes and Drums on display at BrizeFest

The band then moved over to the static display for us to capture some pictures before assembling in the belly of a C-17 Globemaster.  From there we marched out playing a last set of Scotland the Brave and Roan Tree. Check out the video below – you can see our guys at the front left!

RAFBF Pipes and Drums, RAF100 Brize Fest 2018, A big thank you to everyone. Raised so far as follows: RAFBF Total £13890 SSAFA Total £1733 Combat Stress Total £79781 GRAND TOTAL £95404 what will the total be by the the next Brize Fest 31st August 2019?

Geplaatst door Mark Bisset op Zondag 2 september 2018

Little run out…half a marathon later

Now in its 33rd year, the Leeds Half Marathon takes place in May each year making it one of the oldest major road races in the UK. Around 9,000 runners took part in this ever-popular event, and this year Semps tagged along in a bid to get some miles under his feet.

The race

Enjoying a city centre start, Semps was quickly out onto the challenging route through the city and its suburbs. The course takes in some of the highlights in Leeds, from Kirkstall Abbey to Millennium Square, but requires you to cover 21km in the process. Once on the Castle Trek, the team will be covering three times the distance of a half marathon, each day.

Semps is no stranger to the half marathon distance, having completed four other races at that distance. Leeds gave him a good opportunity to gauge his fitness level and start raising awareness of the Castle Trek project.

A half marathon is a reasonable distance for folk to target, it has a bit more about it that than 10km, you know you have done it, but doesn’t place the same stress on you as a full marathon. Beyond the distance another key element is the weather, the race day was warm, research has shown that a runners pace slows down above 12 degrees Celsius and they start to suffer above 18, which was the temperature in Leeds. And Semps suffered. Lots.

Taking a strategy of using even pacing, Semps crossed the line with a smile of his face and a time on the clock of 2hr 11mins.


Being the trooper Semps is, back at work the next day he was still putting recruits through their paces on fitness tests. More members of the team are looking to be taking part next year.

We’ve been busy…and we’ve been planning!

Since the last post, Jason has been away in the Alps taking part in an expedition, and the guys have been able to get together to identify some key miles stones, risks to the project along with how to mitigate them and actions to be completed to accomplish our goal…in other words, planning!

Some key events:

  • Sept ’18 – Ex Griz – first training weekend down south walking 38 miles to get the feel for the task ahead.
  • Oct ’18 – Rob & Semps take part in a navigation exercise
  • Nov ’18 – Ex Jolly Wander – second training weekend, this time up north
  • Feb ’19 – Walk to National Arboretum
  • Apr ’19 – Route recce the route on bicycle whilst others complete training on foot
  • May ’19 – Team competes in Half Marathon
  • July ‘ 19 – Castle Trek

In amongst these activities, there will be plenty of engagement with those providing support as well as the guys holding down their regular obligations to work and their families. Summer is a busy time for the HCav, excluding any state visits, there is plenty going on this year with The Royal Wedding, as well as the Trooping the Colour and the 100th Anniversary of WW1.

Why are we doing what we’re doing?

What a great question, and one we are sure to ask a few times between now and the moment we walk onto the Esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle! We plan to raise as much awareness and money for two important charities as we can.

The Royal British Legion

Royal British Legion Live On

The Legion was founded by veterans after the First World War. A century on from the start of that conflict, they’re still helping today’s Service men and women, veterans, and their families in almost every aspect of daily life. They also champion Remembrance (organise the Poppy Appeal), safeguarding the memory of those who have given their lives for our freedom through Remembrance education and events.

They help members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families all year round.

Registered Charity No: 219279

Household Cavalry Foundation

Formed in January 2013 The Household Household Cavalry Foundation LogoCavalry Foundation was set up to raise funds to care for the Soldiers, Casualties, Veterans, Heritage and Horses of the Household Cavalry. Famous worldwide for both outstanding ceremonial pageantry and gallantry on the battlefield, the same soldiers seen on parade on state occasions also risk their lives for our country on the front line.

The Foundations aim is to bring together Regimental benevolent funds such as the Operational Casualties Funds (OCF), Household Cavalry Central Charitable Fund (HCCCF) and the Regimental Associations to operate as the Household Cavalry Foundation.

The Household Cavalry Foundation provides a single charitable focus for grants in the most effective, efficient and legally appropriate way to meet its aims, ensuring coherence and clarity for both the internal Household Cavalry family and external public audiences.

All donations are used to support the Household Cavalry family welfare requirements. This is important now our troops have returned from operations overseas. So our thoughts turn to the future as we care for not only physical but longer-term psychological injuries.

Registered Charity Number: 1151869

What are we doing?

What a great question, and one we are sure to ask a few times between now and the moment we walk onto the Esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle!

We plan to raise as much awareness and money for two important charities as we can. There is more on that in the next post but for now, we can tell you that we plan to walk the 380-miles from Windsor Castle to Edinburgh Castle over a period of 10-days in August 2019.

The Route

Even for our group of fit lads, covering 38-miles a day, every day, for 10 days will be good going!

Team! Assemble!

We all blame Martin. He was the one who thought it would be a good idea to walk an average of 38 miles a day for 10 days. Maybe deep down the rest of us think its a good idea too, though it’s going to hurt. But that is next year.

For now, we are in the early stages of our project with the team of lead by Semps and followed by Rob, Lee, Pez and Arch. We are a mix of serving soldiers, ex-serving soldiers and bagpipers.

Meet the Team

We know what it’s like to receive help and support from outside your normal network of friends and know what a difference it can make. We wanted to give something back and help our pals in the process.

One this site and this blog you will be able to follow our progress towards the goal of walking on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle. There are many days and many more than the estimated 380 miles between now and that point and we plan on taking you along on the journey, sharing our highs and lows as we plan for, train for and execute our challenge.

That will do for now.