The temperature increases as the dust overhead disperses and we can hear aircraft overhead again.

We're booked onto a flight to Camp Bastion, which is about 45 minutes away by Hercules.

A display of forbidden items in the departure lounge includes a bazooka alongside the usual nail scissors and corkscrews.

We board the Hercules in single file, wearing our body armour and helmets, and take the seats to the right, facing other passengers and strap in.

Ear defenders dull the droning engine noise. And once our luggage, strapped to pallets, is secured in the back of the aircraft, the door comes up to close.

Sitting in a dim green light, with the noisy engine rumbling, passengers watch the people opposite or rest their eyes. Leaning back to nod off is a mistake as the vibrations travel through the helmet into my bones.

The Hercules takes off at high speed and sitting sideways, I lean to the right to counteract the force pushing me into my neighbour. It seems a remarkably short time before I'm leaning the other way on descent.

Camp Bastion is almost 3,000 metres above sea level, based in remote desert north west of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province.

Bastion is immediately different to KAF in look and feel. While the heat and the dust are constants, it is less built up. Buildings are at a lower level, there are no two-storey portakabins. It is much more austere. A sprawl of beige tents makes the six-square-mile camp seem more expansive KAF, although it is home to up to 12,000 men, rather than about 20,000.

It is simpler than KAF, although the facilities are good. Running water and bunk beds, air conditioning and the NAAFI provides shops and a cafe for leisure time.