Alan Yates
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Alan Yates - Aberdovey, Wales, 1959

I arrived by Steam train in Aberdovey on 28th December 1959. An old army truck was waiting at the station, Penhelig Halt. We were told to throw our kitbags / suitcases onto the wagon and we were formed into file and were then marched along the Machynlleth road to the Outward Bound Centre.
We were allocated to our Watch I was in Fisher Watch together with ten other young lads from different parts of the Country. We were issued with our uniforms and had to hand in all cigarettes.
The first day came as a bit of a shock when we were awakened at 06.30 hrs. and marched to the shower-room,where we had to strip off and stand under the shower until we were given the order to pull the chain to start the freezing cold shower.
The following four weeks were taken up with Rock Climbing, Canoeing, Sailing the Golden Valley on Cardigan Bay in gale force winds and being very seasick, Hill Walking and of course the inevitable cold shower every morning.
It was a most memorable, enjoyable and rewarding experience, but now as I write this story, fifty years later, I remember that New Years Eve singing sea shanties with Stan Hugill drinking hot Cocoa and being in bed at 10 o'clock, I will spend this New Years Eve again in Aberdovey but not in such a sober environment, because now I live here having had a cottage here since 1988 and retiring here in 2001.