South Armagh in Northern Ireland is rural…very, very rural!! There are some of the tallest, thickest hedgerows that you’ve ever seen and one of the main rules of patrolling out there is “Don’t use gates, bridges or any other channeled path”. This was brought in due to the fact that the IRA had been burying huge bombs under gateways between fields and in one instance, detonated it remotely, killing two guys and seriously wounding the other two guys in a section of 4 men. Getting through, over or around the hedgerows, ditches, swamps and fields full of mad Irish cows was always something to look forward to on every patrol…..NOT!!
Patrolling is also a bitch because of the amount of kit you have to carry. A normal patrol will see the average troop humping upwards of 40 pounds of gear, sometimes as much as 80 if we were on extended patrols or OPs. I only weigh 165 now pounds and was quite a bit smaller and lighter back then, so you can imagine what a bitch it was for me!!