Fan dance (exercise)

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For other uses, see Fan dance (disambiguation).
snow and frost covered mountain peak
Pen y Fan 2,907 feet (886 m) above sea-level. The location for the Fan dance.

The Fan Dance is part of the Fitness and Navigation phase of the selection process of the UK's Special Forces personnel. It has also been used on courses run by the Pathfinder Group and the RAF regiment II Parachute Squadron as well as the Infantry Battle School, Brecon, Wales. It is a 24 kilometre long distance march in the Brecon Beacons of Wales that takes place at the end of the first week of the selection course.[1] It is used as the first major indicator of whether a candidate has the physical and mental determination to complete the selection course.

The candidates are divided into two groups and each starts from opposite sides of Pen y Fan, an 886 metre high peak. One group starts at Torpantau railway station, the other at the Storey Arms Mountain Rescue Centre.[2] Each participant carries an 18 kilogram Bergen backpack, a rifle (a further five kg) and a water bottle. The candidates climb Pen y Fan and descend on the far side, they then turn around and reverse the route. The Fan Dance is distinct from the Long Drag, a 64 km march with a 25 kg backpack that is the culminating event of the Fitness and Navigation phase of the selection course.[3]

Three reservist soldiers apparently died during the Fan Dance of Summer 2013.[4]


  1. ^ Curtis, Mike: "C.Q.B.", 1997
  2. ^ McNab, Andy: "Immediate Action" 1995
  3. ^ Kemp, Anthony: "The SAS, Savage Wars of Peace", 1994
  4. ^ "Update on pre-hearing for SAS training soldiers who died". ITV. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 

Fan Dance, BBC Radio 4