Dennis Taylor
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Dennis Taylor - Devon on Ashburton, 2000

My name is Dennis Taylor I was an apprentice with British Steel Corby, The training dept sent me on the course at Hone Park, Devon it was supposed to be 4 weeks but for some reason it was cut down to 3 weeks.

I have to say this was an alien environment to me, I had no idea what the program for the 3 weeks was about.
I was put into Drake Patrol and the dorm opposite was Raleigh Patrol as time progressed it became us against them in a friendly competition throughout our time at Hone Park.

46 years has passed since my course ended, but there are still events and some of the day to day routine I dont think I will forget.

First thing in the morning jumping out of bed and running down to the river, we had to stand in a row and then came the order Drake Patrol JUMP. We had to jump into the freezing river and immerse ourselves in the water and run back to the dorm, wash - dress - make your bed - then breakfast.

We were taken Pot holing I recall following the instructor climbing through holes - squeezing along slits - going through the Angel (so called because you could only get through it by spreading out like a snow angel).

Then to our horror the instructor told us to switch out our lights, he said we had to follow his voice to get to the exit he turned his light out and off he went. I can tell you now I moved so fast to stay within his voice, I was frightened I didnt want to get lost. Once we were all out we marched to a bridge over the river Dart where we had to jump off into the water to clean our overalls. The incentive was if anybody came up with a hand full of gravel from the bottom of the river you would receive a Marrs bar.

We spent the night in a light house sleeping in hammocks singing folk songs . Paul our team leader was from Manchester so all the songs were about the north.

Cliff climbing - abseiling - canoeing in the river and sea. commando crawl over the sea.

Spending the night out on your own under a bivi sheet.

Then finally the big test a 90 mile trek zig zagging across Dartmoor 3nights under bivi sheets and a total of 4 days walking between points where we had to pick up markers to prove we had been there, it was time limited and points were deducted if you did not achieve the times you were given.

To sum up as far as I was concerned the course achieved everything it was supposed to do, I was proud to receive my certificate and badge, I learned a lot, some of the advice given to us I still use today. The lads in my patrol and Raleigh Patrol were a good bunch. Im grateful I was given the opportunity to attend outward bound. I won my D of E silver award . And I have included my certificate in my CV package through out my working life. It helps because it shows you have character.