Michael Dickinson
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Michael Dickinson - Moray Sea School, Burghead Scotland, 1963

I was 19. Most people of my generation say they know where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. I was on a three day expedition, in the November snow, on the Cairngorms. We had been told not to talk to gamekeepers and the like. On the morning of the third day, wet and cold, we were walking down a deep valley towards a river. It was a lovely sunny morning. The temperature had increased somewhat and the snow was starting to melt. Suddenly we saw someone running down the slope from the high ridge to our left, waving his arms. Dutifully we continued.
Eventually, it became clear that it was one of the instructors from the School. He gave us the dramatic news about JFK.

What did I learn?
I learned to listen and think about what I am told, not to take unnecessary risks and not to expect others, necessarily, to protect me from them.
I learned that teamwork was about working together to achieve a goal. Physically we were much the weakest watch. By helping one another, we managed to get everyone over those seemingly insurmountable obstacles and eventually beat the school record for the fastest time over the assault course - boy were we proud!
I learned that I could keep going and survive in spite of the gruelling conditions on the mountains and the Force 9 Gale through which we sailed the Prince Louis to the Orkneys. It gave me the determination to do what was necessary and hence the confidence to succeed. I learned that “I can do it!”
Looking back, the experience was more magnificent than any adventure film I have seen. There were times when cold, hungry and exhausted, I detested it! But the sense of achievement and camaraderie that we all felt has inspired me throughout the rest of my life.