Brian Bird
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Brian Bird - Moray Sea School, Burghead Scotland, 1956

Burghead Bound.

I had never been to Scotland, travelled overnight by train, climbed mountains, sailed in anything, never mind a three masted schooner, The Prince Louis, or even suffered cold showers.

My experiences on the course have had a significant influence on my life ever since. The training I received proved to be an excellent model for my future. Now a Septuagenarian I am not moved to change my assessment for the value of Outward Bound and I continue to recommend the experience even though my two sons chose not to follow me - I am now working on the grandchildren.

I still have my 1st Class Honours Badge which I earned over four weeks of non-stop involvement and effort, slowed only by one day of sea sickness. Trying to learn knots and work aboard ship feeling so ill was the only downside. Never mind the occasional hiccup, the adrenalin flowed for the rest of the Course. Sailing to Buckie and Wick with a whale swimming underneath the Ship was some experience, believe me.

Climbing and camping in the Cairngorms, was something special too, Cairn Toul and finally Ben Macdui from dawn 'til dusk on a packet of digestive biscuits and an orange. I traded the biscuits and enjoyed a can of peaches purchased from a village shop en-route.

Getting to the mountains on a 'sit-up and beg' cycle from about 30 miles away from Burghead with a 40lb pack on your back was a gruelling journey against the hills and headwind. The instructions were do not aim to get there before 4p.m., or you will have casualties from exhaustion, so take it steadily. It was a much tougher journey than we could ever have imagined.

Drake Watch rose to every occasion, no shirkers here, the 'winning ways' approach prevailing even amongst the least fit members.

We were all sponsored by a Company, Public Body or Organisation - They got value for money and in my case overwhelming recognition.

I remember standing atop of Ben Macdui. This was quite awe inspiring, snow still in the gullies, a fantastic vista and even a herd of deer floating by. Getting to the top, jumping over streams, scrambling across the scree was fine, but later we were too tired and walked through the water, however deep. Relief was sleeping out in freezing conditions in your 'goon' suit, huddled around a fire.

One month on this course turned me into a super fit guy, never to be topped.

On the lighter side we were allowed to march down to the village cafe, a dance in the Village Hall, make our beds military style and pass the cleaning inspections.

Many thanks are due to all those who support Outward Bound and a tribute to those on Course 62.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Bird.
Drake Watch Captain. Watch Competition Winners.
Course Winning Cadet and 1st Class Honours Award.