Have just got back from walking the dog and breaking in my Haix boots, found myself musing about my PRMC and decided I'd write an in depth diary that covers most of the smaller foibles that are usually overlooked. I have also realised I've written a Jane Austen novel of a PRMC Diary, so please excuse my often mindless babbling akin to someone who's just woken up from a wisdom tooth removal. This took me about two hours to write, I wanted to go a bit more in depth than the usual diary that only focused on Gym/BF/EC. Day 1 (Tues): Luckily I live not to far from Lympstone (jammy sod) so my train journey lasted about 30 minutes, which is pretty much just the time it takes for the train to stop and start again coming through all the stops on the way to CTC. My train was scheduled for 14:00ish and when I got to Exeter St Davids only 3 other people from the PRMC got on, two of whom I'd already spoken to before hand via the forum (Definitely something I'd strongly advise as this helps to break the ice!). We were all wondering where the rest of the course could be and hoped against hope that it wouldn't, and couldn't just be the four of us on the course. After asking the conductor to alight we got off and were met by a nice chap at the guardhouse who told us not to worry and enjoy the experience and then quizzed us on RM VC recipients (Cpl Prettyjohns and Cpl Tom Hunter were obviously the first two to get blurted out). One of the course Cpl's then came down to escort us to the accommodation, I'm fairly sure that to most people going down to Lympstone for the first time it's pretty terrifying coming across your first trained rank, as they all tend to look like they eat babies and punch children. This is certainly the case. Although all of the directing staff (DS) that we came across had a brilliant sense of humour and were really amicable. Once escorted to the accommodation we were shown our bed spaces and met the other two lads who had arrived a few hours before us. We then started to sort our own kit into the lockers provided, I wouldn't worry to much about Globe and Laureling your shirts and measuring out the perfect distance between your socks as we never had our lockers checked (to my knowledge) and were never picked up on anything to do with them, just make sure that you've got everything you'll need to change in to quickly to hand (smart civilian dress, gash rig etc.). You're issued with your water bottle which you take everywhere with you (apart from the galley), some MTP rig for the BFT and Thursday and then your boots. I'd say this is one of the most important things about Tuesday; finding the right boots. The store cupboard is an absolute bag of bastards and nothing is really in pairs, there are only two small doors so try to be swift and don't take up all the space. Make sure you try your boots on with the socks you'll be wearing on Thursday and then get to polishing them. Once again the aim of the game isn't to buff your boots to the point you can see your reflection in them, I think it's more so they look smart and presentable when marching around in them. Once everyone else had turned up (13 in total) and were all in the same boat re kit we had a brief from one of the course DS. This happened in the corridor of the accommodation, no matter where you are or what you're doing when you hear the bellow of "PRMC corridor!" you best move quicker than greased weasel poo and get into your position on the wall. We then started filling out our 'performa' sheets that would eventually go to our training team (TT) when we start RT so take the time to fill them out correctly and neatly as this obviously affects how you come across, not only to the DS but also to your future training team. Standy to get ribbed on anything you put down, I was called into the office and asked if I really really wanted to be an ML due to my job and my rock climbing instruction quals. Time flies along and before you know it you'll be down in the galley having dinner, although the sodexo food is pretty bloody minging, dig into it, take as much of it as you can because you are definitely going to need the energy for the following two days. The only thing I can remember of Tuesday evening inbetween dinner and 9 o'clockers was sorting out the kit for the endurance course (warmers for afterwards and mugs to drink the rats hot squash in) and a little ice breaking chat with the DS which mostly consisted of standing up in front of everyone and telling them the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you/something embarassing about yourself. Turns out I wasn't the only one with a small todger. 9 o'clockers comes round fast which on the first night was burger and chips, eat big and try to steal as much food as possible while the sodexo workers are trying to lick their elbows and pick their arses at the same time. Food is fuel! After 9'ers its back to the grots, showered and in bed by about 21:45 ready for tomorrow. Day 2 (Wed): Woken at 05:30 by the DS, super cold shower that wakes you up instantly, shave, and then realise your to nervous to go the bathroom. You then get straight into smart civvie clothes and go down to the galley for breakfast, which is either full english, cereal or both at once. Don't shirk on food here thinking you'll be running on a full stomach, you will have time to digest it all. Top tip: put the hot beans on the cold eggs and they will become edible. Magic. Back to the grots to deep clean the accommodation and then into MTP trousers, trainers, phys shirt and bibs for an introduction to drill out in the quadrangle. This mostly consists of turning on the spot. After that we went out to have a march around camp as a troop. Three terribly unlucky buggers (Myself included) were sent out to stop traffic plowing into us as we marched around the camp. Not really sure what the aim of this was, as at all other times we never had runners. All this ended up in was looking like a supreme tit holding traffic for two lines of people completely out of step with each other looking like bigger tits. One bloke just inside the front gate was so keen to get to work he completely disregarded my being stood in the road with an arm outstretched and nearly ran me down like the dog that I am. At around 08:00 you're introduced to the course PTI who, although looking like he could punch through walls and kill a bloke at ten paces by staring at him, was actually a really good bloke and treated us all fairly. Straight out of the accommodation and over the bridge into the car park to start the BFT. The warm up was fairly straight forward; running in a circle, doing some dynamic stretches followed by some sprints, push ups, squats and burpees. By this point you're nice and warm and start the first mile and a half out, this is a bit of a doddle, just concentrate on your breathing, stay close to the man in front of you and enjoy the early morning Devon scenery. Quick turn around for a swamp and to shake the legs out and then straight into the return mile and a half. I ended up starting near the front of the pack for this one, although our course was very small so it didn't matter majorly, I can definitely see it being a problem if you've got 40 blokes all vying to get to the front! The mile and a half was over so quickly we all honestly thought they'd misjudged the distance, I don't know whether it was the adrenaline of the day or having the competition of running against other people but I ended up getting a time of 08:47 compared to my PJFT time on the 21st October of 09:53. Just goes to show that running on dreadmills is a bit farcical. Run over we were given a little token by the CSM and fell into two files after a quick sip of water. The DS took the tokens and they jotted down our times (You're not told your time on the course so you'll have to try and find out from your AFCO). Back to the accommodation, shower, quick pat on the back to everyone that passed and then down to the galley for lunch. I'm fairly sure we went down to the armoury and had a look/a feel of the rifles/equipment that you'll come across in training and beyond after lunch, mostly to break up time between the BFT and the RMFA. You march over to the gymnasium with the PTI who then explains to you the rules of the gym, essentially no scratching and do a little jump when you stand to attention. Couple of the lads struggled with the no scratching element and ended up getting dished out some extra correctional phys in the form of tuck jumps and burpees. To be honest I was absolutely cacking my pants about the RMFA, and didn't perform that well, partly through not doing a full run through before going down there and also by having one of the DS counting my reps on push ups and sit ups. Bleep test is very straightforward, first three levels are run with a PTI leading and then you're on your own. Don't try and get in front of the PTI, you're just wasting energy and will be shouted at. Also when it really gets going, listen out for the numbers, by the time I dropped off I didn't have a scooby doo what level we were on, luckily one of the DS had kept a tab of my level. Also one thing that I've seen mentioned in loads of PRMC diaries and can relate with massively is not stopping until your pretty much physically pulled off the run, I thought I was being pulled off, wasn't, and lost all momentum on my run only to come off on that level. Everything else is dead simple, the rest you get in between exercises is the lie down you get counting reps, I was the lucky sod who was the odd man and got the pleasure of Cpl 'I eat babies' counting my press ups and staring into my quivering purple face while doing the sit ups. When it comes to pull ups its 3 to a bar and you do get an opportunity to wipe your hands on a towel or wipe up some dust from the floor, I'd honestly say go for the dust option if you can find any. At the end of the RMFA we had a 13/13 pass rate which apparently was good enough for the Corps Colonel to come over and congratulate us all and say that we were the first PRMC to get a 100% pass rate on Day 1 (Although I think he was mistaken?). Once the gym tests are over its straight through a secret door into the changing rooms for the pool. Super simple again, jump off a board, swim a length (breast stroke) walk a width of the shallow end, swim a length to the CSM, he drops a brick in, you fetch it. Simples. Unless your one lad on the course who upon diving to the bottom kept on mistaking the black brick for one of the very much cemented to the floor blue tiles. He ended up with weak swimmer which probably wasn't true when he should have been 'weak eyesight'. Top tip for the pool as well, don't like me ask the PTI if you can hold your nose when you jump off the diving board because "That's just gay". The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing in the accommodation, I'm fairly sure we had no more details until after dinner when we would be escorted to the Foundation block and meet lads who were on Week 1 Day 3 and had just been issued all of their kit, it was a little bit daunting at first walking into a room of 40 blokes all with a titanic pile of kit on their bedspace looking as busy as a one armed brick layer in Baghdad but they were all incredibly friendly and happy to chat and pass on their experiences of the DS and what we had to come on Thurs, we all chatted for about half an hour before heading back to the accommodation and waiting for 9'ers. Once again, eat big as Thursday is a hang out of monumental volumes. Day 3 (Thurs): Same as the day before, awake at 05:30, shower, breakfast, clean, rig for the day. Down the bottom field for the warm up followed by Punch into the net. Lympstone was an absolute white out Thursday morning, completely iced over grass and obstacles, and fog thicker than pea soup. It was also about -4C and cold enough to freeze an eskimo's knackers. Warm up was pretty much the same as the day before but obviously had a bit more intensity due to the cold, we also had our first taste of sprinting and then dropping down into commando crawling, which when the ground is hard with ice, I can confirm is about as much fun as pushing needles into your eyelids. Punch into the net is pretty exhilarating, especially when the beam is iced over, make sure you show enough confidence with your walk, jog, sprint or you'll be made to go again. Down onto the bottom field assault course now for a demo from the PTI, don't get caught stood still during this evolution, just keep your feet moving on the spot. You have a few run throughs about three obstacles at a time before attempting the whole course itself which although an absolute lung burner is just about the most enjoyable part of Thursday. I'd highly recommend the technique to adopt on the monkey bars is the hand to hand method instead of trying to swing through them at a blistering pace! Once the assault course is out of the way its straight into getting thrashed until your eyeballs bleed. I can guarantee that unless you're into BDSM you probably won't have been through this kind of pain before but it is all worth it in the end, and that's the thing, it will end. Get yourself a similar sized partner and start dragging them up hills, attached to their belt, front or back. This is when we were thankful for the hard ground as it gave great footing! Keep with it, we had one guy WAOR at this stage because the CSM was asking him if he'd had enough, he just got up and walked off without saying anything. The CSM wasn't saying to him "Get up you've failed" he was just trying to give him some encouragement to catch up, don't fail yourselves, keep on keeping on! Also if you're the lad being dragged, give your partner some quiet encouragement, although don't take this to whooping and hollering levels as the DS will pick you up for it. Straight onto hill sprints backwards, bear crawls up hill, bunny hops up hill followed by two pull ups, back down the hill and then bunny hopping to the top of the 12ft wall (as seen in most PRMC videos). Did a few round of this and then it was over to the monkey bar tank, break the ice where it hadn't already been broken by lads falling in, then fully submerge yourself for one second. Onto pays to be a winner, somehow I ended up third on this so didn't have to go again and instead got to do press ups which to be honest was a blessing. Back to the grots, shower, get warm, and then onto the Corps knowledge test. From what I can remember this consisted of: RM VC Winners, Corps Memorable Dates, Make Up of 3 Commando Brigade, Make up of The Globe and Laurel cap badge, Training syllabus and finally reasons for joining. This isn't a criteria test in the way that it will effect your score at the conclusion of PRMC but it gives the DS an idea of how serious you are about the Corps and obviously how much you know about the job and the organisation you're going to be joining. One thing I will say is that for our course they left us alone in the classroom for about 45 minutes to do the test, if you wanted to you could have a quiet whisper with the person next to you and swap answers, but don't. Have a bit of integrity, I had the lad next to me trying to show me his answers, I just answered with "Oh right" and didn't write what he showed me down. This was followed by a gopping pasta bake and about an hours down time, I'd use this time to stretch/get yourself on a foam roller! Onto the Endurance course, lift up in a minivan and a quick banana before getting out and starting the warm up. Before I went down I was truly worried about failing Wednesday and the RMFA, but in actual fact the real test comes on Thursday afternoon when your legs are in clip from the bottom field. It starts off with a steady run and then you're straight into ice breaking drills on Peters pool and fully submerging yourself. Top tip: Get everyone to FULLY submerge themselves, not just face down in the water, back of the head dry because everyone will have to go again. After Peters pool its another short run and then onto crawling through about 100m/150m of sheep shit and mud. This was one of the darker moments of the course for me but I managed to switch off from the excruciating pain in my knees and hands from crawling earlier, and get right up near the front of the pack and just plod on, one agonising shift at a time. This is where we had the other lad WAOR as I don't think he was ready for the pretty much back to back sessions. In the ablutions after bottom field he was saying he didn't think he had it in him to complete the afternoons detail, and despite everyone telling him that he'd smash it and that if he could pass Bottom field he could get around the Endurance Course he did wrap in the end. It definitely pays to be near the front for this bit, the three of us at the front got to demo the sheep dip while everybody else did their 10s (10 press ups, 10 squats, 10 burpees). The sheep dip is massively hyped up but to be honest it isn't really that bad, especially when you don't have any equipment on. You're hardly trying to squeeze yourself through a hose pipe and you under for no more than 5 seconds as the other lads are mega keen to push and pull you through. After this the course sort of blurs into one, running from evolution to evolution, with your legs getting heavier and heavier, you go through more drags, carries, and hill sprints/pays to be a winner and also the ever present 10s. All I can say about this part of the course which has been repeated one hundred times before is to show maximum effort. Even if you're not the first bloke every time, let the DS know you're not loafing/being lazy by digging out and giving your all on everything. Don't try and save energy for the next part of the course you may know is coming, just keep going and hope you don't get picked up and have to do something again. There are two stops for hot squash and a banana around the course, make sure you ingest everything as it definitely gives you the morale/energy to keep going. There is one stop before the hare and hounds phase where they actually have the vans parked on the road to lull you into a false sense of security that you've completed the course, keep your heads down and don't start shouting and back slapping till you're back in your accommodation. One lad in Foundation told us that on his PRMC they all started cheering once in the minivan and were promptly told to get out and run back to camp, they ran 2 miles before they were allowed back in. When the course does end and you get into the soft shell jackets and get your mars bars, don't wrap and leave kit on the floor/leave wrappers lying around. I was one of the ones who did this and we were all expecting an almighty 'extra phys' from the Cpl but it seems he forgot as they were all going out for a JNCO's curry and quiz once we got back to CTC. Happy days. Shower, back into gash rig and then you've pretty much got time to reflect and pat each other on the back once the kits been sorted out. Although the endurance course is a lot harder during your commando tests, and almost everything you do at Lympstone will be harder than the phys you do at PRMC there is a pretty amazing sense of elation after knowing you've passed, and if that elation is anything to go by I think by the time I pass out I'll be pitching a tent in my Blues! The rest of the evening was spent doing admin off a list left with us by the absent DS, we decided to get it all sorted ASAP so we had maximum time left in the evening after dinner. That evening we had a very approachable L/Cpl from the Vis team looking after us and we also had the chance to chat to two diamonds who were on Week 26, one of whom was at CTC before, left at Week 15 and came back 4 years later! This is such a good opportunity to ask any and all questions that you may have about training, the DS or what general day to day life is like. There's no such thing as a stupid question and no one's going to laugh at you if you put your hand up and ask something that's burning in your mind. We then had a brief from the PTI about what phys to do in between PRMC and RT and we were also given a booklet that had loads of exercises and also a diary of the phys we were doing to show our TT when we got to Lympstone. We then had a brief from the Chief Medical Officer at Lympstone who spoke to us about diets, injuries and what we were interested in doing within the Corps, after we were all out of questions we had a well deserved 9'ers and then bed. Day 4 (Fri): Awake at 05:30 again to sort out the accommodation and make sure that everything was spotless so the DS had no reason to keep us longer than they had to. We had a lecture from a PTI from Hunter Company who told us about common injuries and also mobility exercises to avoid injury. We then spoke to the CSM who had his little joke (which I won't spoil here), issued our certificates and our last little chat with the DS, a few of whom were looking a bit worse for wear. Down to the platform and back to Exeter St Davids all walking like cowboys with dodgy knees. TOP TIPS: Take a foam roller with you! They honestly do help with getting some of the tightness out of your legs on Thursday. Remember where you are! A few of the lads got picked up for calling the DS 'mate' or calling them Sir instead of Cpl, although they are all understanding that at the end of the day we were all just civilians looking to join a military organisation, there does still need to be that respect for rank. Train train train your legs! The RMFA is what it is, and everyone knows what it consists of, but it only makes up about an hour and a half of the four days, the thing you don't really expect is the amount of work being put through your legs. Don't worry about looking a prat in your local park, just crack on! Hope you get a small PRMC! I honestly think the whole thing ran smoother with less people, there wasn't a scrum for showers, and you also get to know the other lads on the course over the four days. I was completely threaders when I found out most of them wouldn't be on the same intake as me, and I'd only known them four days! Do have a desire to be there! It'll help when you're in pain on the bottom field or the EC. Take joggers/hoodie! It was bitterly cold when we were there and most of us had stuck regimentally to the kit list only bringing shorts. Most of your time in the grots is spent in gash PT rig so take some joggers/tracksuit as it can get nippy! Try to have fun with it! Remember you're there to look at the Corps as well as them looking at you, it's not all doom and gloom and criteria tests, the DS are human to.