Hey everyone

On Friday 18th August 2017, my airsoft team and I made the trip from Basingstoke to the Isle of Portland on the south coast to attend PAST's annual themed weekender at The Rock, a large active quarry that also doubles up as a pretty epic airsoft site. It took us around 3.5 hours to make the 95 mile journey due to some heavy traffic and a freak hail/rain storm somewhere on the A31. As we drove along the coast and over the bridge to the Island, it was a pretty amazing sight! I don't get to see the coast too often so as you can imagine I was pretty excited about being so close to the sea! The site itself is at the top of a winding road atop a steep hill on the island. We were greeted by site marshals wearing bright high vis vests once we had reached the country road where the site is situated. We arrived on site at around 4pm and set about making our camp for the weekend. The accommodation for the weekend was a field adjacent to the quarry where there was plenty of space for tents and even caravans/motorhomes if you don't like the thought of tenting it all weekend. After we had set up our tents we walked over to the large white marquee that held the onsite shop to sign in. The onsite shop was stocked with plenty of gas, beebs and accessories to keep you going over the weekend!

The site itself was honestly pretty epic. The Rock is an active white stone quarry that is constantly changing. In the centre of the quarry is what can only be described as a mound of large white stone rocks that you can walk/climb/crawl between, which opens out into large open spaces with blocks of stone dotted around for cover. It features a 100m pit full of structures and cover that only has one way in/way out along with huge hills that contain dug in bunkers, support weapons and large pyro artillery. Due to its dusty, rocky, mountainous features it was the perfect setting for Tora Bora Raid.   Tora Bora Raid was set in the early years of the Afghan war - with players being able to choose fighting for the coalition special forces to hunt Osama Ben Laden in the Tora Bora caves or to fight against them as the Militia/Tali forces as Osama's bodyguards. As we are steering further away from MultiCam kit we decided to fight on the Militia side which meant civvie dress and relaxed loadouts. My loadout for the weekend included ranger green trousers, a green plaid mens shirt, a ranger green platecarrier with a back panel and a MultiCam shooters belt.

Saturday morning Project Cerberus woke up bright and early to our tactical camera man Andy Snook of Snook Snaps (you can check out his awesome shots here) bringing us a hearty breakfast of sausage and bacon cobs (bread rolls to all you southerners) before walking onto the site ready for the safety brief. The safety brief given by the staff was comprehensive and covered all bases with one very important point repeated 'watch your footing' as majority of the ground was uneven and pretty rocky. After the safety brief had concluded each side went to their respective starting points. The game kicked off at 10am.

Project Cerberus' first objective was to defend one of the three hills in the quarry, a hill named Hodor. It had a long winding road leading up to its flat summit, and it was surrounded by rocky hills and dense shrubbery. The hill is one of three that sit high above the base of the quarry and manipulate game play depending on which hills are controlled by which side - at the start of the game our Militia side controlled all three hills and dominated the AO. It was NATOs job to come in and flush us out. We set ourselves up high on the rocky ridges around the summit of the hill watching over the action in the centre of the quarry and feeding information back to our side.

We had around 30-40 minutes of no contact until a squad of NATO started to make their way up the road towards our positions. Our Sniper team started picking them off one by one until a large group of NATO became aware of our positions. They then started making their way up the road and over the ridges on the western side of Hodor. As more and more NATO troops started turning their attention to the hill, the more contact we came into. The firefights were intense and the attacks on the hill were relentless from all sides but we maintained control.

After controlling the hill for around two hours, the enemy team called an airstrike on our position resulting in heavy casualties. As we made our way down the hill as dead players lunch was called and we took a one hour break to refuel, rebomb and get some fuel.

After our team suffered casualities thanks to the NATO air strike before lunch, after the break we spawned at the road to the bunkers and set about making our plan to retake Hodor. Now there were three ways we could retake our territory - up the long road, over the rock ridge or the tight, densely shrubbed path at the very back of the hill. We chose to first attack the rocky ridge, we banded together with another group from the Militia to flood the ridge and take it by force and numbers.

We moved through the rocks quickly, with our front line taking ground at speed. I remained at the back supporting the front with deploying smoke cover and using a tag launcher to clear the top of the ridge of NATO. As the tags hit the ground they forced the NATO troops back onto the summit of the hill. After an intense firefight we were ambushed and our medics were hit. Those that were left hunkered down into the rocks, until we were picked off one by one leaving me the last woman standing. I sat in my cover, gritted the shemagh between my teeth and waited for the NATO troop to make their way to our position. When they emerged over the ridge behind us I stood up (my fatal mistake) and fired down onto them taking them out before being shot in the back by the remaining NATO on the summit near the artillery weapon. With our squad taken out we returned to our respawn.

At respawn, we decided to take another shot at retaking Hodor, this time using the path at the back of the hill. We made our way from the bunker hill road across the huge expanse of the quarry being watched by the NATO forces that had flooded onto the hill. We made our way slowly up the rocky ground that led to the path,

This time we realised that taking the hill would require more stealth than our last attempt so Project Cerberus made their way up the path, which was steep and covered with loose rocks and as a result it was slow progress. Once our team made their way to the lip of the ridge there was an intense firefight between our front line and the NATO squad holding the hill.

We took the hill.

We stayed on the hill for a further 2 hours fighting off the advances of NATO until another airstrike was called in by the other side.

Around 4pm, after the last air strike our team had been called to the tower, a large scaffolding structure near the pit of the quarry Militia. By the time we had made our way down Hodor's southern road, back to respawn and to the tower, the fire fight between the two sides was already in full swing and it was fierce. We ran in, taking defensive positions around the tower until our forces had pierced their front line. We went on the offensive, moving from rock to rock and pushing them further back.

As endex for the day was called, all players returned to the camping area to prepare for the Saturday night zombie game.

The zombie game is where players enter the smaller quarry site that is a short walk from the camp site with springer and gas weapons to take part in an adrenaline fuelled chase between the living and the undead. For this game I was rocking a HK45 and a springer shot gun. All players are given a briefing beforehand and a foam baton which comes into play once a player is infected. The Call of Duty Zombies music starts playing in the entire quarry, echoing and adding to the atmosphere. Players spread out throughout the quarry, Project Cerberus and PAST retreated to a corner of the quarry with the aim of working together and staying alive as long as possible. As the infection spread through the quarry all hell broke loose, there were people running in all directions, shots going off in all directions. It was a really good crack.

After the zombies game had finished, all players returned to the camping area for drinks and some grub. This is what I really love about weekender events! Don't get me wrong, I love 40 hour MilSim games that play through the night and test your endurance but, being able to take a break from the game and wearing kit to sit down, have a drink and some good food with your friends and not to mention a good nights sleep is top notch!

On Sunday morning we started again at 10am, moving between the centre of the quarry, the bunkers and Hodor until after lunch it came time for 'the pit'. The last afternoon of the weekend centred around protecting our force leader in the 100m deep pit. It was NATO's job to move into the pit and remove us and capture our leader. Which they did in good time.

After this we fought to get our lord commander space general back and took him in a bloody firefight around the bunker hill shortly before endex.

Overall, I can honestly say that Tora Bora Raid trumps any MilSim or weekender that I have played in my 3 years of playing. The site is absolutely phenomenal, albeit a little hazardous, the game play over the weekend was intense and both sides fought fairly, the social in the evening was excellent and it was just an all round good crack.

Photography thanks to Andy Snook of Snook Snaps.

I just want to say a huge thank you to PAST (Jed Catling, Ben Hale, Chris Worth, Adam Robertson and others) for inviting us down for their weekend event and putting on such a great show! We will definitely be back!

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