Nick Brau
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Nick Brau - Ullswater, The Lake District, 1978

It's been many years ago, If I remember correctly 1978; a very cold Winter, that's for sure. The last expedition, third night, up in some mountain; my boots froze during the night in the tent; I was using them as pillows!!. VERY cold...Memories are many, but it is the feeling I remember the most. At 16 and except for someone called Nigel (I think) King (I'm sure); who was an apprentice electrician who always said to me that I should go out with his sister; everyone else was either a Marine or a police cadet.
Being pushed to what were then my limits and knowing - LEARNING how I coped under duress; being in situations where one has to help someone who is not coping well; doing the "proper" thing in a group by thinking FOR the group. I remember the morning prayers (or thoughts for the day); two in particular - one went like "Don't walk in front of me, I might not be prepared to follow; don't walk behind me, I might not want to lead; please walk beside me and simply be my friend". The other was about taking advantage of the moment; " I am here now, so if there is anything that I can do for you; please ask now because I might never be around this way again"; along those lines. The whole CONCEPT of OB was so healthy, so intrinsically good for society; VALUES without going through a religion. I went on in life to work as a mountaineer, guiding children up into the mountains of Patagonia; also on the ski slopes during the Winter. Now and for the last 20 years I have been working professionally as a balloon pilot (I fly over Melbourne right now). The Outward Bound experience has always remained in my mind as possible THE best single outdoor experience that I have ever had. Mr. Carr was my leader; a great man. The World has changed, is changing. Let there always be a space for the "call to life"; for the concept of helping people to get to know themselves as they really are; for outdoor activities; for leaving technology completely to one side...A compass points to the North because it follows magnetic physical influences on our planet; not because a satellite triangulation tells you where you are. Your emotions are tested when you are afraid; your compassion is tested when someone is weaker than you are......Combine this with having done my first public speech at OB; I remember, one about breeding Siamese fish in your bedroom. I would most definitely say that, if it is whithin your means and you are a parent, SEND your kids to do one (or a few) Outward Bound courses. The experience will remain in them forever.