Martyn Paterson
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Martyn Paterson - Moray Sea School, Burghead Scotland, 1970

As a sixteen year old Police cadet in the Midlands I attended the one month course in the north of Scotland in January and yes, it was cold. My group was a mixture or army recruits, cadets and industry apprentices and there were several from borstals in Dundee and Glasgow. They taught us a very different Scottish.

There were early morning cold showers and the instructors counted slowly to twenty or sometimes thirty seconds to make sure we were awake. I remember long straight runs through pine forests returning with a slog through the sand along the beach. I remember the sailing lessons out in the cold sea, with just four minutes they said before unconsciousness would take anyone who fell overboard. And i remember we rowed more often than we sailed in these open boats.

I remember doing the weather reports each morning, the circuit course with its big wall that required teamwork to overcome and the pub and whiskey distillery in tantalising sight. I remember the expedition into snow-covered mountains in Glen Affric with ice axes and snow cabe making. I remember how we were taken be closed truck and droped off individually at different points where we had to make an overnight bivouac (nothing in our pockets and a small amount of food). We had to work out our location and follow our maps back to the school alone.

I remember working at the Inverness mental care facility where Douglas Bader, inventor of the 'bouncing bomb' used by the Dambusters was a patient. Immaculately dressed and with a fresh flower in his lapel each day. I remember the cameraderie, the friendships, the fact that despite our differences and backgrounds we had to work together and remember my group of misfits defying the odds and winning the circuit training finals. I remember the honesty shown by those who refused to accept their badge because in their minds they hadn't followed the rules.. I remember it as if it was yesterday with a great respect for the traing staff and a great fondness. Clear as day nearly sixty years later.