HCR Public Duties and State Ceremonial

When the guys are getting ready for CastleTrek, they are rather busy with their day jobs! Below is a quick rundown of some of the public and ceremonial duties carried out by the Household Cavalry.

Public Duties and State Ceremonial

A key defence output and one of the Army’s Standing Tasks, Public Duties and State Ceremonial form part of ‘the fabric of the nation’. For a country with global interests, these roles offer a powerful symbol of our operational military heritage, whilst enhancing the standing of the Sovereign and the Nation before both national and international audiences.

HCMR’s key Public Duties and State Ceremonial outputs:

The Queen’s Life Guard: In early times the Guard was as much as 100 strong and provided Escorts to accompany the Sovereign wherever he or she travelled by road. It now consists of either a Long Guard or a Short Guard on duty at Horse Guards, with a daily changing ceremony at 11 o’clock (10 o’clock on Sundays), on Horse Guards Parade.

Long Guard: When The Queen is in London, the Guard consists of 1 Officer, 1 Corporal Major (who carries the Standard), 2 Non-Commissioned Officers, 1 Trumpeter and 10 Troopers. This is known as a Long Guard.

Short Guard: When Her Majesty is not resident in London, the Guard is reduced to 2 Non-Commissioned Officers and 10 Troopers.

The Queen’s Birthday Parade: The highlight of the Ceremonial Season, and televised across the world, HCMR provides four mounted divisions to escort the Sovereign and perform a March Past.

The Garter Ceremony at Windsor Castle: The regiment is in the dismounted role, lining the route to Windsor Castle’s chapel for the investiture of new members to the Order.

Investitures: Around 25 times a year, Household Cavalrymen provide staircase parties as individuals are presented awards and honours by Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales or the Princess Royal.

The State Opening of Parliament: A historic occasion, each year the Sovereign drives in State to Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament, escorted by four mounted divisions (over 100 men) of HCMR.

State Visits: Formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas have the aim of strengthening Britain’s relationships with other countries. There are normally four visits annually that would typically see the Sovereign and visiting Head of State escorted by four mounted divisions (over 100 men). These could take place in London, Windsor or Edinburgh.

Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph: A dismounted division from HCMR represents the Regiment to commemorate Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the end of WWI in 1918, at 1100hrs, The national ceremony is held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London.

The Lord Mayor’s Show: A mounted division (25 men) deploy as part of the procession.

The Major General’s Inspection: The whole Regiment is mounted for an annual inspection by the GOC LONDIST in Hyde Park prior to the beginning of the main Ceremonial season.

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A Drink to get started

Thursday 21 March the Household Cavalry Museum host to a special presentation by the members of our CastleTrek team. We invited key stakeholders to hear us speak about our motivation and commitment to the challenge we have undertaken.

Martin Semple, our team’s leader, gave an overall summary of the CastleTrek mission before inviting the rest of the team members to introduce themselves and speak about why they were compelled to join. An opportunity was also given to representatives from both the Royal British Legion and the Household Cavalry Foundation to introduce their respective charities CastleTrek will be supporting. Finally, two ex-serving and one serving Cavalrymen gave an insight into how important the Household Cavalry Foundation’s help and support was, and continues to be, following the life-changing injuries they sustained in Afghanistan.

All of this drove home the significance of CastleTrek’s mission, and how important it is to us to meet our fundraising target.

Representatives from Jaguar Land Rover also attended, and were kind enough to lend out a Discovery for the evening to enable a photo opportunity on Horse Guards Parade. In another amazing gesture, they have loaned two of these Discoveries to us to use as support vehicles during the Trek in the summer.

The evening was a great success and allowed us to meet many people face-to-face for the first time. Thank you to everyone who attended, and thank you for your invaluable support.

If you would like to help CastleTrek, please sponsor us by following the link below. Or if you can help us in any way during the Trek, please get in touch via direct message or email Troops@CastleTrek.org.uk

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Piping for the Giants!

Martin and Rob will be flying the CastleTrek flag on Friday 22nd March at the Huddersfield Giants rugby league fixture versus Hull KR.

The guys will be split around the stadium playing their bagpipes and entertaining the rugby fans as they come along to spur on their team.

The fixture will take place at the John Smiths stadium in Huddersfield. Home to the Huddersfield Giants and Premier League side Huddersfield Town football club.

Before the evening fixture you will be able to see Rob at the turnstiles as he plays some well know bagpipe tunes such as Scotland the Brave, Green Hills and The Black Bear wearing his CastleTrek uniform and promoting the project.

Inside the ground you will find Martin on the centre spot of the pitch to play Flowers of the Forest just before the players burst out the tunnel and begin the game. Martin is simulating the iconic moment of the lone piper at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The tune is a lament, we hope it will make the hairs stand up on the back of the necks of the crowd inside the stadium.

If you wish to attend and watch the guys and the game tickets can be purchased through the Giants website

Maybe you would like to donate to the guys and show your support though our website also? Just click the Virgin donation button on our home page.

Pictures will follow and will be trickling out over our social media platforms. Just search @CastleTrek on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Online Donations page up and walking!

There have been some fantastic people supporting CastleTrek so far and we are so very grateful. To allow us to handle online donations a little smoother we have switched platforms onto Virgin Money Giving. This will allow us to collect donations in one location, apply Gift Aid and split between the Household Cavalry Foundation and The Royal British Legion.

We looked at a few different platforms, checking things like can donations be split between two charities, what are the costs of using the platform? are there fees for credit cards? Are our chosen charities registered (and are there fees if they are not)? Can we handle offline donations?

This is all to ensure as much money goes where it is needed, so we eventually settled on Virgin Money Giving.

We are pleased with the choice and have been able to set up a nice little landing page, check it out at Virgin Money Giving.

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Lakesman – Full Distance Triathlon

As part of an ongoing series of events leading up to the main CastleTrek, our guys have been completing various activities. Below is a write up by one of our team members when he took part in the Lakesman he completed in July 2018.

It is the kind of grit and determination in both training and execution that are the backbone of both the team and the challenge ahead.

2.4 mile swim  |  112 mile cycle  |  26.2 mile run

The Lakesman is designed to appeal to both the experienced or novice endurance athlete. It is a full-distance race based in Keswick, with a superb transition area at The Theatre by the Lake. This was my first full-distance triathlon and was the culmination of over a years worth of training. Being from Cumbria, and with family in the local area, I knew I would get some great support as I spent a day taking part in this brilliant event.

The swim starts at 0600 and takes place in the crystal clear waters of Derwentwater, generally regarded on the Lake Districts most scenic lakes. Once you are done in the lake, the bike route makes its way to the west coast of Cumbria where competitors get to experience a side of the lakes often unvisited by tourists, with mountains on one side and the sea on the other.

After some 7hrs in the saddle, you get to start the run stage where athletes will have the opportunity of running through the superb countryside with views to the likes of Skiddaw as well as a spectator-friendly section through Keswick town centre.

Derwentwater is generally regarded as the area’s most scenic lake and swimming in its crystal clear water is something all triathletes should get the chance to experience. A single lap swim commences with a mass start from the shallow water by the boat launch. The guys on the middle distance take a right turn early so the field thins out giving you plenty of room to manoeuvre.

You don’t really have the time to take them in but the views from the water are simply unbeatable! The claxon sounds and away you go. I found some space off to the side as I knew this wasn’t my strongest discipline. I had entered the lake with a friend I was racing against. Once in the water I immediatley lost sight of him. Though I had a solid swim, I knew he was ahead of me. I had been  sighting well until I was corrected by one of the supporting kayakers. Review of my GPS tracking later would show a bit of a squiqqle!

1hr 36mins later, the longest swim of my life was complete and I was out of the lake, onto a short carpeted spectator lined run to transition which is adjacent to Theatre by the Lake.

With legs of jelly, I ran to the change-over area to stuff a banana down my throat and get out of the swim kit ready for the bike stage.

Departing Keswick and heading immediately west you will see one of England’s highest mountains, Skiddaw to your right followed very quickly by Bassenthwaite Lake. The course makes good use of the A66 at a time of day when traffic is light, travelling towards Cockermouth before heading south-west on to the A5086. This undulating section affords stunning views of the Lakeland fells to your left before emerging from the village of Rowrah to the spectacular sight of The Irish Sea and West Cumbrian Coast.

An out and back section on the A595 brings the course back north, skirting Whitehaven, with views across to its historic harbour, before turning left through the former steel town of Workington. A flat and fast section between Workington and Silloth promises to be one of the quickest parts of the course as I was able to get the benefit of the prevailing south-westerly wind. From Silloth a loop around West Newton and Allonby reminds you that the wind that is your friend when heading north is not so much fun when heading south! After completing the 16mile loop I headed inland through the small town of Aspatria before heading for Cockermouth through a number of villages along the way, again the Lakeland fells come into view. I made use of all of the fuelling stations set up at regular intervals around the course. It was taking me approx 1hr to cover the distance between them and I used to this help keep my pace steady as well as managing my fluid intake.

A town centre pass through of Cockermouth is next which should provide a focal point for spectators before heading back to Keswick to begin the marathon. All in all, I covered the 112 miles of superb Cumbrian countryside in 7hrs 4mins.

The bike stage finishes back at the main transition site in the event centre. Leaving transition the route takes in some little known hidden areas of the town before heading North on the Cumbrian Way.

I had done a great job managing my legs and fuelling on the bike. I got into the run stage feeling strong and fresh. The run route is flat and fast with a mix of surfaces. The course loops out to Portinscale, with the mighty Skiddaw coming into view in all its 3,053ft of glory. The route then utilises the A5721 for an out and back section, which is closed to traffic allowing athletes the chance to keep tabs on their competitors and also enjoy support from friends and family without worrying about cars. It was here I caught sight my nemesis/friend I was racing, he was 30mins ahead of me at this point. I had just over 20miles left to make up the distance.

Back to route, it heads back towards Keswick town centre, once again passing through Elliot Park before crossing The Heads where the breathtaking lakes view reappears.

The course is a loop that allows for some great support by friends and family. Martin, one of the CastleTrek Team, came to show his support with his bagpipes!

I caught up with my adversary towards the end of my second lap, I was running strong and on track for a sub-4hr marathon, he was in poor shape and struggling with injury. I wasn’t going to run past him in that condition, it wasn’t the way we wanted the race to go. We spent the next 15miles moving as fast as we could, talking about the race keeping each other motivated as the miles pounded on.

Five laps and 26miles after starting the run, I was entering the magical red carpet finish chute. I started my race at 0600 and it was now 2020, some 14hrs 20mins had passed and I was now a Lakesman.


2018 British Army Photographic Competition: Amateur Category Sport/Adventure Training

Amateur Category Sport/Adventure Training: Lance Corporal of Horse Adam Blackmore-Heal

On 17th October, I attended the 2018 British Army Photographic Competition Awards at the Imperial War Museum, where I was given first place for the Amateur Sport/Adventurous Training category. The photo (below) is of the Household Cavalry’s Riding Master (Maj Richard Chambers) jumping over a picnic bench with the new commanding officer (left – Lt. Col. Paddy Williams MC) and the outgoing commanding officer (right – Lt. Col. James Gaselee). This was taken on the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’s annual Open Day, during the Riding Staff’s activities display.

Making an entranc

The voting for the winners came from the public after voting opened on the Mail on Sunday’s site. It was a great honour to receive first place in this category, and certainly one of my proudest moments during my time as the regiment’s photographer.

I also had a photo shortlisted to be entered into the online vote, though I didn’t win this category, it was still fantastic to have it selected to be placed with other brilliant photographs.

There is also a video of the jump that became Adam’s winning shot. Take a look below.

The Riding Master's leap of faith.

Thank you to everyone who came along, and supported, our Open Day. Despite the heat, it was great to see a tremendous turn-out. As a little thank you, enjoy this 360 degree video of the Riding Master, Maj. Chambers, jumping over Lt.Col. Williams & Lt.Col. Gaselee.Don't forget to scroll, and look around, as it is a 360 video.#TrustedGuardians #ThatWasACloseOne

Geplaatst door The Household Cavalry op Maandag 16 juli 2018


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!