john milligan
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john milligan - Moray Sea School, Burghead Scotland, 1965

2015 Round Lake Drive
Houston, TX USA 77077

23 Aug. 2010

Dear Sir, I'm a subscriber to Sea Breezes. I've just re-read the April 2010 issue with regard to the profile of James Main and his experience of the Outward Bound schools.
What memories !!!!
In July of 1965 I had successfully completed my 5th year Secondary at Shawlands Academy, Glasgow , Scotland. My geography teacher, Mr. ("Jakie"�) Mann, offered a free, one month, all expenses paid holiday in an exclusive Highland resort. I and two others jumped at the chance and duly arrived at Outward Bound Moray Sea School, Burghead on July 1. We were immediately split up and then I knew the game was afoot. I was assigned to the Duncan Watch and was awakened at 5am the next and every day by loud orders. We were all sent off for a run to the beach and a quick dip in the North Sea then back to 'barracks' for a quick (cold) shower and then sat to breakfast. The next month had me doing all sorts of challenges, hill walking/ camping, cycling, running, sailing in 26 foot dipping lugsail cutters and on the beautiful sailing ship, Prince Louis as Navigators Yeoman (helmsman). I had a grand time gaining confidence. I already had some experience in hill/ mountain climbing and rowing (at school). This held me in good stead for the rigours to come and I achieved 3 merit awards and an honours in seamanship on my certificate of completion. Sadly, lost in time.
But I gained a lot more. That month back in '65 has stayed with me all my life helping me to achieve what I couldn't have done without it"�"�"�"�.in climbing, sports and particularly mountain climbing. Just 8 years after OB I stepped onto the summit of the Alps, Mont Blanc at over 4,800 meters. Even Everest Base Camp in '99 and my final hooray at the age of 53, a 22 mile round trip to the top of Mt. Whitney (4,400M), California in 17 hours.
The grit instilled in me that month gave me all the power I needed to get through the pain and suffering.

Outward Bound should be re-instated and expanded immediately. It is easy to see how the youngsters of today are harried by drugs, too much freedom and a lack of direction and discipline in this single parent age. This needs to be reversed and Outward Bound is the answer, otherwise we'll have a generation going down the toilet.
I could regale you with stories of the hard work and hilarious incidents of that month"�"�"�"�"�"�let me know if you want more,
Outward Bound"�.Outward Bound"�"�Outward Bound Rules !!!!!
The motto, " To serve, to strive and not to yield ""�"�"�"�worked for me,
John Milligan (62, shipbuilding designer)
Houston, Texas.

Hard Work & Fun
The thought of carrying 45 lbs. of kit on my back during our hike across the highlands didn't sit well. After leaving the truck at the trailhead I lagged behind my group and was chucking precious (but heavy) food into the heather. That's better !!!
Of course I got hungry over the 3 day walk but on the last evening we camped atop a peak and brought all the food that was left to the table. I gorged myself and slept the sleep of angels that night. I stuck my head out of the tent in the morning to be blessed with a view of perfect peace. The view down to the becalmed loch (Torridon) and the perfectly reflected mountains just being kissed by the sunrise with a whisp of mist on their flanks was wonderful.
We arrived at Shieldaig and boarded the Prince Louis to sail her back to Burghead. Bad weather intervened and we cruised the inner isles instead. One forecast caused concern to our Captain, Victor Clark and we headed for a cove in the south end of the isle of Rasaay. Our watch was tasked with rigging the kedge anchor for the night and getting the weather from the radio. The next day was inclement and we rode to anchor. Not being allowed to be idle we were marched the length of the island to meet with the lighthouse keeper. At one point a peat bog got in the way. We (12) were encouraged to solve the crossing problem. Some took a long run and before they could jump, slipped and fell face first into it. Others tried skipping from tussock to tussock only to sink in anyway. A hilarious time.
On arrival at Plockton we were given leave ashore. Our boat was lowered at the same time as the Captains and we rushed to the quay to catch his lines. He was NOT happy !!!!
You NEVER go ahead of the Captain we were told later.
Across the bay from Plockton was a castle or what looked like one. The mate told us it was a girls school and they did a lot of outdoor activity in shorts 'in the adjacent field'. We fought for hours over the binoculars hoping for a glimpse. Turned out to be just a long abandoned house.
We were also to sail the 26 foot cutters from Nigg Bay to Burghead at one point. I had by this time quite taken to sailing and was picking it up fast. We crept up on a boat ahead of us with all bailing buckets full of cold salt water. At the tiller I took our boat right onto the windward counter of the boat ahead. As we stole her wind she fell away and we soaked the crew with all we had and then some. Great threats were shouted and we replied in kind.
One of my favourite times aboard Prince Louis was lying in my focsle bunk and listening to the water swish along the hull as we sailed.
As you can tell, Outward Bound was the best month of my life and has been my leading and guardian angel ever since,
God bless Outward Bound,

John Milligan.

To OBT...............any possibilty of getting a replacement certificate ? I got honours in seamanship and merit in the others.