HMS Bulwark’s crew deserted their ship and ran away, but all in a good cause, their destination the top of the Rock of Gibraltar. The traditional race which takes runners from the dockyard to the top of the Rock, a gruelling course which although only 2.5 miles long ascends some 1,250 feet has been contested by visiting ships for over 50 years.
The winner in this instance was Sergeant Craig Moodie from 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines in a time of 21.46 minutes, which whilst very impressive this was still some four minutes behind the best time ever.
48 of the rock runners were Officer Cadets (OC) from HMS Bulwark’s Initial Sea Training department. OC Harrison who came fifth said: “It was a memorable experience. We had been told that it is one of those things you have to achieve at least once in your life. I’m not sure I need to do it again though!”
Lieutenant Commander Gareth Parry is finally hanging up his trainers after 30 years of running the Rock. Having first co mpleted the race in 1978 when he was serving as an Able Seaman on HMS Apollo, he has at least one Rock Race Certificate for every rank or rate from Able Seaman through to Lieutenant and now, finally, Lieutenant Commander. Although he did say a heartfelt ‘Never again!’ as he crossed the line, HMS Bulwark is expected back in Gibraltar in 2009.
HMS Bulwark has now returned to Devonport and the crew are on summer leave.