I was apprehensive when being asked to take part in Vauxhall’s SAS Training Mission with Star of SAS: Who Dares Wins, Ollie Ollerton. I didn’t know whether it was a good or bad thing that I hadn’t actually seen ‘Who Dares Wins’ as I didn’t know what I was getting myself in for, but being pretty gung-ho I thought why not, how tough can it be? The day before, when I told my colleagues about what I had planned for the following day, they filled me in with horror stories from the programme which is when the fear really kicked in. It’s a rare occasion that my mental strength gets put to the test, in the world we live in today, we don’t have to fight for survival and we’re hardly ever faced with fearful situations where we have to act under pressure. Unlike my physical strength which, like most other people, I put through all kinds of crazy, challenging workouts on a daily basis, by choice! So with that in mind, I deemed myself somewhat prepared for whatever Ollie was going to throw at me. 

The SAS training camp base was exactly how I imagined. Basic. A wooden hut with a chalkboard and two benches and an outdoor toilet with no lid. Dressed in all camo gear, I was mentally preparing myself for what lay ahead. Nobody would tell me exactly what the mission involved which gave me that horrible nervous feeling. Ollie rolled up in the brand new Vauxhall Grandland X SUV and briefed us on the mission. Our task was to locate the agent using any intel we could find along the way, simple. We jumped into the Grandland X to find our first clue. When we reached the location, we realised that the intel we needed was across a lake which required us to climb across a rope held between two trees to reach the other side. After watching the SAS star give a quick demo of how to position yourself on the rope (making it look like a piece of cake of course), I was first up. I knew that if I made a move out of place, I’d end up in a very murky lake which I really did not want. Having had no experience doing anything like this before, I had no idea how much it was going to hurt, the rope was burning my torso as I pulled myself across. Ollie’s advice: ‘keep calm and carry on’ which was sort of difficult when I was in excruciating pain! It was mind over matter, I had to make my way across as quickly as possible without falling and I did it! I was so proud of myself and felt a huge sigh of relief as I touched down on the ground. Then it dawned on me, this was only the first challenge. We found the intel on the other side which led us to the next location.

As we continued to battle each of the challenges, using our physical and mental strength in equal measures, I became well aware that without the encouragement from Ollie, this would have been a lot more difficult. When put in tricky situations, hearing somebody say ‘you can do it’ goes a long way and was vital for keeping me positive throughout the mission. 

After wadding through bamboo weeds, crawling through a pitch black, mud-filled tunnel and being chased by a hunting dog, we finally located the agent, with the help of the trusty Grandland X which got us from A to B, which was not always the easiest task bearing in mind we were in the middle of a forest!

All in all, the day was a great experience and I am so glad I put myself to the test. Not only did I get to hang out with SAS soldier Ollie Ollerton, but I came out relatively unscathed and so much more confident in my capabilities when under pressure. Mission accomplished!

words by Isabelle Shury

Watch Issy in action!

Vauxhall partnered with ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ star, Ollie Ollerton, to offer advice on how to ‘Keep calm and carry on’ when being challenged both physically and mentally. The Grandland X SUV ‘Keeps Calm. Carries On’, handling the rough with the smooth, making it ready for action, anywhere.

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