Kenneth Hayes
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Kenneth Hayes - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1968

I decided to write My Story following a visit to the Outward Bound Trust in Eskdale. I was on a rare visit to England after leaving for Australia in 1970.

The course I attended was of 4 week duration in June/July 1968.

My partner & I were travelling through the Lake District and on a whim I wanted to see the Outward Bound School. It was on Sunday 10 August 2014 when I decided to go. We were in a village close by but I couldn't remember exactly where it was and I asked a local for directions. It was only a few miles down the road. I really thought I would just be permitted to take a few photos of the building and grounds but on arrival at the office I was greeted by the Duty Officer Mr Tony Martin-White. We received a wonderful reception, duly signed in and given visitors passes. Tony permitted us to wander around the grounds at our leisure and take photos. It was a very memorable experience. I had an opportunity to have a brief chat with a group about to set off on their first expedition having only arrived the previous day. I was pleased to see that women were now permitted on the course. I wished them well with their endeavours.

On return to the office I chatted with Tony and other instructors there. I agreed to tell my story and I am grateful to Tony for arranging my course records to be emailed to me. These notes, together with my precious Log Book, enables me to give a brief story of my experiences some 47 years ago.

Dates: 17 June to 13 July 1968
Name: Kenneth Hayes
Apprentice Fitter & Turner, Mather & Platt, Newton Heath, Manchester
Course No U130
Hillary Patrol

My Outward Bound Story

I was in the final stages of the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award when I attended the course. I felt confident I would do well. I fell in love with the Outward Bounds beautiful location immediately on arrival and the atmosphere was vibrant. There were 96 attendees.

I was assigned to Hillary Patrol alongside 11 others. We got on well in no time at all and worked well together during our stay.

Our Course Instructors were Mick Sorrell assisted by a temporary instructor named Harold Edwards. Mick was fantastic with us but he really worked hard to get the best out of us. In turn we had to work hard for him. There were some tough days, hard climbs and poor weather with cold conditions and storms to contend with. One day a severe storm hit. Violent thunderstorms, with accompanying lightning, had a severe affect on the campsites. Everyone was evacuated off Gillercombe Buttress and Shepherds Crag. During the storms electric current could be felt on the wet rock faces as well as in the ropes themselves.

One of our expeditions was a 2 day canoeing trip along the Derwent River, negotiating rapids from Lake Derwent into Lake Basenthwaite, followed by a 2 day hike back to the school. We had 2 man canoes and my friend Graham was my canoe buddy on this trip. After a pleasant trip along the Derwent River we were picked up by land rovers and taken to a campsite at the far end of Lake Basenthwaite. The following day we prepared ourselves for the rapids. The Lake District experienced a lot of heavy rain in July which meant the rapids were flowing well. Rapids are categorised from 1 to 5. 5 being the fastest. These rapids were flowing around cat 3.5. It looked fast to Graham and I and we were both concerned and rather apprehensive.

We set off. It was cold and the water had risen 4 feet and was estimated to be flowing at 30+ knots. Our canoe was whipped along the river with Graham and I doing our utmost to control it. We managed rather well until 10 minutes from the end when the rapids finally got too much for us and we capsized . The canoe was swept down river leaving Graham and I struggling against the strong current to reach the river bank. We arrived at the designated campsite shortly thereafter freezing cold and copping a ribbing from the rest of the group. All in good fun. The following day our group set off on the 2 day hike to Patterdale via the summit of Skiddaw descending Lonscale Fell to Threlkeld Common and on to our camp site at Mosedale Beck. The following day we hiked to the summit of Great Dod and walked the range over Stybarrow Dod & Raise to the summit of Helvellyn, descending into Grisedale Valley and into Patterdale. We were delighted to catch the Penrith bus back to the school. It was a wonderful and exciting excursion.

I would like to share one more story with you. During our first week Mick Sorrell asked us to visit his cottage located within the grounds as he would like to introduce us to his wife. On arrival we were surprised to find Mrs Sorrell in a wheelchair. She became a paraplegic as a result of a skiing accident.

Mrs Sorrell had prepared tea and scones and was delightful. Being wheelchair bound she was unable to leave the house when Mick was away as there were steps to negotiate. Not the best for her at all.

Shortly after our visit Mick asked Hillary Patrol to come up with a group project as part of the course. We needed something that was useful and meaningful. We also needed to include all menders of Hillary Patrol. We would be assessed as a group on the project and the result would be part of the Patrol's final gradings.

We had a good mix of trade apprentices in the group. We decided to build an outdoor deck at the rear of the cottage so Mrs Sorrell could wheel herself outside and she would have a view of the valley and the lake she loved so much. We built it and it was fun to do. To see the look on Mrs Sorrell's face as she wheeled herself out on to this really well built deck will, for me, last a lifetime.

In conclusion the fond memories of my experiences on this course have not faded with the years. I tried for the White Wardens Badge but had to settle for the Blue Badge. I ended up with a Merit for Proficiency in skills and a Merit for practical application of skills. I was happy with this result.

At the time I attended this course in 1968 some 10,634 people had already attended an Outward Bound course in the UK since it's conception. Today that number is over 1 million. I hope the Outward Bound Trust will keep on keeping on and a further million attend in the ensuing years. Thank you for permitting me to tell My Story.

Ken Hayes
Superintendent Fire & Rescue NSW, Australia (Retired)