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Michael O'Mahony - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1973
I was sent to Eskdale E323 by my employer as a precursor to possible management training. I was quite impressed as they agreed to pay my salary of £50 per month!! I arrived at the school and realised that there was a huge variation in everyones backgrounds which I found fascinating. These ranged from police cadets..public school ...army recruits..boys from difficult backgrounds (I include myself) and outdoor types. Interestingly the patrol leaders were elected ad hoc. For example we were invited to jump into the water from a bridge. Some were reluctant but the first one over was chosen to lead a patrol... no coercion needed. I became leader of scott patrol but cant remember being elected!! Daily routine was get up at 630 ish..wash ..run around the tarn..jump in and return for breakfast. Days varied from attending seminars on fellcraft to solving problems or drama sessions. Then working up to rock climbing or trekking. The rope course frightened me a lot. I found myself stepping off the parachute drop and meeting a tall chap with hands behind his back. "What did that feel like"? he said. Exhilarating or something like like I said. He sloped off with two others into the wood. I had not realised that I had just spoken to the Duke of Edinburgh. We should have twigged as earlier in the week all our quarters had been searched by a team with no explanation given. Back to the course....We had to run a cross country course which was difficult. Also we were set up to spend 3 days out of school on the fells with the patrol. The days were very windy. I stopped the lads taking great gable due to the force of the wind. Some would say health and safety gone mad.!! We completed a few peaks but no where near the number that some patrols achieved. All in all a great experience and recommended for anyone looking for new challenges.