James Medhurst
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James Medhurst - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1956

I'm now a 72-year-old who attended The Outward Bound Mountain School, Eskdale, in April, either 1956 or 1957 (my old diaries are back in Lancaster, England.)

I can still remember quite vividly many aspects of the course: one of the most enjoyable months of my life. It wasn't much to do with the challenge because I went on the course knowing more or less what to expect and relishing all kinds of physical activity. It was, in essence, a holiday that met - indeed surpassed - my expectations. I had already decided to go on to higher education and to qualify as a Physical Education teacher. This I did and spent my working days as a teacher and eventually as Director of Sport and Recreation at Lancaster University.

For many lads on my course I can well remember that the month was little short of purgatory. In what way the experience affected them subsequently only they can say!

The whole concept of "character building", response to "physical challenge" has, as I recall (NB I've been retired for over 20 years) been the subject of much research and my recollection is that the jury is out regarding any positive relationship between the two.

I'm fortunate that I continue to enjoy good health and recent holidays with my wife have included a trip to Everest Base Camp and treks in the Andes. I can't reasonably say that my Outward Bound experience has been influential in my continuing to enjoy various "physical challenges" : rather I would suggest that this has to do with genes and parental influence.