Alan Neale
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Alan Neale - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1952

In the year before Everest was climbed, Eric Shipton came to my school (King Edward VI GS, Nuneaton ) to give out the prizes on Speech Day and to deliver an address. I was intrigued to see this man in his tweeds with broad braces exposed by his open jacket on that warm day.

I had never heard of Outward Bound, but was fascinated to hear about Everest. I was not a model student, and lacked drive.

A few months later I was sent off to Eskdale by a zealous headmaster “There is just a chance, Neale, that they may make something of you for we seem to be getting nowhere!”

I hated the first week and thought of absconding, but found that my one ability, to run fast, uphill or down, stood me in good stead and eventually I began to enjoy all the activities.

I returned to school and really put my back into work and play. I joined a mountaineering club in Coventry and went on meets to Wales and Lakes, often with MAM sharing the ’bus cost. I soon did the Welsh Threes at a trot and Ray College took me rock climbing.The greater traverse of the Skye ridge followed.

I did well in my exams and went to university at Manchester, eventually becoming President of the mountaineering club.I was elected to rucksack Club Membership in 1957 and had just one Alpine season (Route Major,:Grepon by MDG face and Dru by the PG traverse) and the went off to start work as a geologist in West Africa.

I retired in 1996 and on the 50th anniversary of my presidency I was invited to speak at my university club Dinner in Grasmere. I spent the day on Gable and drove back to Grasmere in gathering gloom and passed your entrance. How dearly I would have loved to go inside once more. I still get on the hills several times a week as I live in Argyll. I thank Outward Bound for so much.