Andrew Cox
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Andrew Cox - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1964

I was an 18 yr. Old Police Cadet from Gloucestershire, when I attended the Outward Bound Mountain School at Eskdale in the Lake District. The Course was E. 142 from the 1st. June 1964 until the 27th. June 1964.
Luckily I was reasonably fit, having completed the Ten Tours Expedition across Dartmoor several months earlier.However, Reasonably Fit just wasn,t good enough when spending a Month Fell Walking across the Lakes, and the Inital Circuit Training and Cross Country Steeplechases were a necessity. I was allocated to Mallory Patrol which was made up of 10 Young Men from a wide cross-section of Society, from all parts of the country. Some of the Northern accents I could hardly understand, No doubt some found my "Yokel" Gloucestershire accent just as difficult. It was in many ways still a class ridden society with the patrol made up of Working class, Middle Class, and those from Private Schools. One of the first things we learnt was Teamwork. It doesn,t matter what background you come from when you are cold, soaking wet, hungry, not sure where you are on the Mountain, and the visibility keeps getting worse. Yes this was "Flaming June", but nobody told the Lakes. It also taught us never to take the Mountains for granted. After nearly 50 yrs. It is easy to look back with Rose tinted glasses. But a few things remain, Like running around the Lake naked in the early mornings and having to go under the freezing cold waterfall half way round. But yes it did wake you up.Making a "Bivy" with a lenght of canvas sheeting in the pouring rain on a mountainside, only to find your carefully picked site actually turned into a River Bed which attempted to wash you and your sleeping bag down of the Mountain. One thing still remains vividly in my memory, was riding the Screes down the side of Wastwater Lake. You stepped off the top onto the broken rock and it would slowly at first give way underneath you and you decended so it seemed some 1000 meters down the steepest face until reaching the Lakes edge. It was of course dangerous, a broken leg was very easy . At the very least you lost the seat of your trousers from the rough stones on the way down .If unlucky, then sitting down was not an option for several weeks. I have no doubt that in these Health & Safety Times this practise has been banned for many years . One last unfading memory was being picked up in the Schools Landrover after 3 Days of Fell Walking over the highest peaks. I cannot remember why but for whatever reason we had run out of food some 24 hrs. ago and were literally, as it seemed to us, Starving. We then had to watch the Instructor eating huge slices of Bread and honey during the hour long trip back to the School.It gave me a Life Long appreciation for food, and it was the nearest I ever came to Murder. Being serious , Outward Bound at Eskdale was wonderfull. It gave me a life long Love of the Lake District, and Fell Walking, It gave us the confidence that perhaps we didn,t realise we needed at that stage in our lives. And No I,ve never been as fit (Or Thin) as I was then.I consider myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend. One last thing it did was concentrate my mind at to what was really important. On return I proposed to my future Wife, and yes we later climbed Scafel Pike together, and many other wonders like Buttermere etc.Married 43 yrs