Ernie Brame
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Ernie Brame - Aberdovey, Wales, 1949

In May 1949 I was extremely fortunate enough to attend, in Aberdovey, course number 84 at the 'Outward Bound Sea School' as it was known as then.

The O.B.S.S. in those days had a sailing ketch, an old 'New Quay' sailing life-boat, (donated I presume by the R.N.L.I. or its subsequent owner), a couple (or more) sailing dinghies and several canoes. This of course gave a strong seamanship flavour to our training in addition to an extensive and varied athletics programme.

The course even included a three day, (or was it five?), sailing trip in the Ketch around Cardigan Bay, hauling on the mesmerising halyards for the variety of sails, scrubbing decks and watch keeping etc - all of which kept the, twelve student, crew and the Captain and his Mate more than a little bit busy.

The below description is tongue in cheek but true – written as an affectionate and abiding memory (!) from my time at the school. It was also a rude awakening of what became the start of each day's routine at Aberdovey for the next four weeks:

Reveille was not a chance to yawn or stretch or ponder where you were. The routine was to leap out of bed and into shorts, shirt, and plimsolls, (Nike, Adidas and the like weren't available for the likes of us in 1949!), then off for a half mile run along the road in the direction of Aberdovey and back again. That wasn't too tough; though a few wide-boys from big city centres were a little unimpressed. Back from the run and we went into a bare concrete shower room.

The first of the character building routines, at least in my opinion, was the compulsory 10 second count under, a freezing cold shower of enormous pressure. The class of twelve of us each had a chain to pull to operate individual shower heads about 5ins. in diameter. The real test was to withstand the cold and needle jet pressure of the water for a period of ten second that varied in length with the current duty instructor's count. Any boy who released his chain before the end of the count caused the whole class to start the ordeal again. So began the team building. On Sunday mornings the run was not obligatory!

I wonder how today's routine starts?!

I hope this is of interest to you and maybe today's students!

Ernie Brame