Gillian Jones (nee Hardy)
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Gillian Jones (nee Hardy) - Rhowniar, Wales, 1968

I went to Rhowniar Outward Bound Girls School the last week of January, first two weeks of February 1968. The biggest task was trying to get to sleep on the coldest of nights in a two man tent in the middle of a lawn in the grounds (no actual field camping as there was a very bad case of foot and mouth in the area that year). I survived with the help of my tent partner for the night, Pauline Packham as she was then, plus extra thick ground sheet, sponge mattress, two pairs of trousers, two pairs of socks, boots, jumpers, jackets and hats. Breakfast was the best sight ever. Our friendship has lasted 50years and to celebrate we returned for a long weekend to see if we could find some of the places we went to. My husband did much ringing around for us and thanks to him we were able to visit the old building. The main entrance buildings are still very much the same apart from the window shutters which have now disappeared. The dining room, dormitories and other rooms past the main building are very run down and hardly recognisable. We managed to walk around some of the grounds and reminisce about the activities we would do, night compass exercise, tree top walking over the rope ladders, trying to cross the bottom brook, with items, as a team making sure nothing or no one fell in. We even found the spot where we had those famous group photos taken and decided to take another - fifty years later - just the two of us. We then moved onto the Outward Bound Trust Centre where we had arranged to meet one of the centre receptionists. It was nice to see around the grounds and note that even now the basic training apparatus had not changed much, the wall and the ropes. It turned out that this building was in our day the sea school and this was where we did our canoe training - rolling the canoe in order to learn how to right it correctly when we went out on to the estuary. We must have been healthy then (or mad!!) as most of the activities were completed in extreme weather conditions, one day it was minus 4degrees. We often wonder how the rest of our group have faired. The moto on the shield was 'To serve To strive and not To Yield' A saying I will remember all my days as I repeat this when things sometimes don't quite go how you would expect. It gives one a sense of achievement, just like the feelings when we had worked as a group to complete tasks. We all worked together no one was alone. We kept a log but unfortunately I only seemed to complete just over a week of activites. We were kept busy all the time, trampolening at the local army barracks, mountain climbing, pot holeing, brashing -cutting off the bottom branches of young trees to give them more light to grow, beach combing and much more. I stilll have some photos although they are black and white. It would be nice to hear from others who would have been there the same time.