Peter Braidwood
Back to alumni stories

Peter Braidwood - Aberdovey, Wales, 1979

My Outward Bound journey began in November 1978. As a 17 year old, I joined up with approximately 50 - 60 other apprentices from Cammell Laird Shipbuilders (Birkenhead) who literally descended on Aberdovey for a week long mini course. It was a fantastic week and the taster experience inspired me to apply to attend a 'classic' three course, as I had felt that the week experience was too short!

April 1979 was therefore to be a turning point in my journey of life. I joined up with ten other lads to form Rodney watch on course A380. The watch instructor was Paul Edwards, who lived and breathed for the outdoors. He was an inspirational instructor and he loved his work. Along with all the adventures I shared with watch members, something came alive in my appreciation of outdoor activities and the challenges they presented. My confidence grew throughout the course and I made a conscious pledge to take up some outdoor activities on my return home.

My affinity with Outward Bound remained with me as I began to engage with a number of outdoor activities and subsequently my goal of actually becoming an instructor! My career as a ships engineer had stalled due to the early 1980's recession, so in the true spirit of Outward Bound I cast my aspirations beyond the horizons of the River Mersey. I was initially fortunate to obtain a college placement at Aberdovey again before moving onto the wider Outward Bound world and instructor positions at Eskdale, Loch Eil, City Challenge - Liverpool and Anakiwa - New Zealand. I also attended a ski- mountaineering course at Outward Bound Colorado, to complete a hat trick of courses as a student!

My outdoor foundations are certainly based upon those early days at Aberdovey. I revisited Aberdovey in January 2009, 30 years on from my course, working as a consultant for the Institute for Outdoor Learning. My task was to interview instructional staff as part of an outdoor professional accreditation scheme. I was delighted to discover from those I interviewed, that the Outward Bound spirit was very much alive. Whilst at the centre I enjoyed walking around the centre, and found the chapel to be an inspirational place to visit and reflect. The engraved glass window depicting a young man steering a sailing ship under the watchful eye of an experienced skipper encapsulated my Outward Bound journey and experiences to date. I would recommend any past Outward Bound participant to go and have a look at the engraving if they ever visited Aberdovey.

I feel proud and privileged that I have been able to experience the Outward Bound student and instructor experience. I am now head of centre at Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre at Lochgoilhead, Argyll. My approach to running the Ardroy centre is very much based upon the core Outward Bound values of serving, striving and not yielding - introduced to me over 30 years ago.

Fair winds to the good ship - Outward Bound!!

(I am 4th from left - back row)