David Noar
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David Noar - Ullswater, The Lake District, 1958

My name is David Noar. I attended Ullswater Outward Bound School in November 1958. The company I worked for saw fit to send me on the 4 weeks course and I couldn't wait to go, character training through adventure sounded great.

Prior to attending I can recall acting on the previous advice of the school to massage meths into my feet every night to harden them up, and doing this for 2 weeks prior to attending and also having a very short haircut again on their advice. In those days to have really short hair meant you were a bit of a hooligan!

I caught the train from Manchester to Carlisle from where several of us were "bussed"� back to Ullswater. We were formed into patrols and I was put in Oates Patrol. This is where I met people like Dave Wilmot (we are still in contact ), Taffy from Mountain Ash, Spud an army cadet from Essex, Steve from Reading and Sid (the goon) from Birmingham, there was also a lad from down south called Mick Bean who sold me his camera. I can't remember the names of the other lads but I remember we all got on well. We were all assembled in the front of the house and were read the rules. We were then shown into our dormitories. I remember lots of jokes and laughing. The following morning (and this turned out to be the daily routine) we were woken up at the crack of dawn, assembled in the courtyard then had to run down to the lake, strip naked, run down a slippery plank thick with ice and frost and jump in! You could go in and out as fast as you wanted as long as you went completely under. I remember we all got this off to a fine art and we were in and out in a flash. I also recall seeing a couple of the lads having a quick drag behind the bushes!

We then went back to the school straightened up the dormitories and went for breakfast. The food I remember was great. Immediately after breakfast we were assembled outside and had to, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme, partake in athletics events i.e. 100 yds sprint followed by other elements Discus and javelin, throwing medicine balls at each others abdomens, etc etc.
All of this in many cases reacted with the breakfast by way of serious bouts of vomiting!! The rest of the day was followed by lectures and instruction on knots map reading, erecting tents and general survival. This then would be the daily routine when we were not out on the fells.

We also had to learn canoeing and had to build a kayak and sail it within the 4 week period we were there. This was most enjoyable as it was perhaps the least demanding of our bodies!! The majority of the time was spent outdoors on the fells, Helvelyn, Brothers Water, mountain climbing, abseiling, scree running, walking, camping etc.

We were set several one and two day expeditions, we were given map references and had to collect proof of reaching our objectives by recovering a paper which was placed in a cairn at the destinations. There was also had a solo overnight march affectionately known as "on tod"� where it was all down to the individual. We were given a single groundsheet which we had to erect beside a wall to give shelter for the night, it didn't stop the wind howling through though.

The worst experience we had was near to the end of the course on the last 3 day march, there were 3 of us and we were soaked to the skin by the second night, we were cold and dispirited could not sleep, then about 4 in the morning the weather was so bad, the tent blew away. We got over that and started walking at 1st light with over 20 miles to go. I remember we hitched a lift on a passing coal truck (this was against the rules) for the last few miles and got a severe reprimand off the patrol instructor.
I think most of us whilst we were actually on that course, truth be told, hated every minute of it, it was hard, every day was a test of stamina and resolve, we were under great pressure to achieve our goals and it was not until we got home did we realise what a fantastic experience we all had gone through. I was never fitter as when I came home both in body and mind and will always remember with great affection those gruelling 4 weeks spent at Ullswater. They resulted in a great love for the outdoors and a strong "can do"� attitude.

Long may it continue to give others that great experience of achievement and camaraderie only found through sport and adversity that myself and my contemporaries were fortunate enough to share at the Outward Bound School.