Andrew Sayer
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Andrew Sayer - Ullswater, The Lake District, 1979

I was nine in April 1979 and I think I was on one of the youngest courses. I had often been away with cubs camping so being away from home was not an issue. Parents had decided they were going to Keswick for a holiday so I got taken to the Ullswater OB centre for the duration.
Loads of other similar aged lads, we were "Oates Oates the mountain goats" named after the room we were in.
We had royalty staying with us too. A European boy from some branch of the royal family had the pleasure of our company. And apart from a slight accent he was indistinguishable from any other lad on the course.
So as with everyone the first morning, we had to jump in the lake. Yes it was cold but a hot shower and breakfast soon followed and set us up for the day. The lake jumping was the start of getting wet a lot. Canoeing across the lake, going up hills in the rain and landing in some puddle following a death slide descent it became part of the norm.
We went across the lake and camped beneath Hallin Fell. Proper camping with leaky tents and fire making. Proper Swallows and Amazons Stuff. Not the state of the art tents you see today.
I do remember coming back with all the cooking kit and having to scrub it all clean before handing it back to the quartermaster store.
We had a great time. Character building stuff as it were. I told my parents that I wanted to come back so further stays at Rhownair and Ullswater were booked in the years following. I think my parents were quite happy with that somehow.
So 31 years on, was it useful? I have been in the RAF for 24 years now. Outward bound was probably my first stepping stone of that career.