Dennis Freeman
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Dennis Freeman - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1951

OUTWARD BOUND It was nearly 67 years ago that I last walked through the gates of the Outward Bound Mountain School in Eskdale. Then I was a 17 year old apprentice from Coventry sponsored by my employer Courtaulds to spend a whole month away. The mountains of the Western Lakes were a far cry from the bomb sites I passed on my bike ride to work. What a wonderland! At 84 I was welcomed back to Eskdale Green by Graham. He kindly showed us around the old hall and new buildings, the dining room and the grounds. All that car parking space! We didn’t need that in 1951 when we walked from the “Owd Ratty” railway station to Gatehouse. The morning run round the lake and the early plunge held no fond memories but the glory of the surrounding hills with hiking and climbing stays with me to this day. Some things never change. My patrol officer was Richard Marsh who six months previously had lost his two ex army companions in their attempt on Nanga Pairbat. Their head porter had been Sherpa Tensing who three years later was probably the first man ever to stand on the summit of Everest. Richard was a great mentor who taught me orienteering (not called that in those days) and rock climbing culminating in the ascent of the difficult Pillar Rock. Fell walking from Eskdale – no mini buses then – took us to Great Gable, Scarfell, Scarfell Pike , Bowfell and the Langdales with overnight camping sometimes without a tent. It was summer. Wish I could do that still. Sadly, my last climb of the Skye Quiraing five years ago taught me that age has caught up with me - but in my head there are no such bounds. The bonding exercises meant that National Service in the RAF five years later was no surprise. My career prospered and team building learnt at Eskdale stood me in good stead. My final report from the 13th Course awarding me membership of the Outward Bound is something I’ve always treasured. Thank you Outward Bound for bringing back these happy memories. Dennis Freeman March 2108