Peter Maher
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Peter Maher - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1960

As it's almost 50 years since I attended outward bound and Tony Titley became the first person to die on a course, I felt it would be an appropriate time to fill in a few blanks and document my side of those tragic events in April 1960.
Like many boys who attended an outward bound course I was sponsered by my employer. One day about six months before I was due to go on the course, I was called into a senior managers office and told that I had been picked to represent the Company Rank, Hovis McDougal and informed that this was an honour not offered to many,infact, I think I was the first and in view of the events that followed, the only one!
I recieved a list of items to buy,waterproofs,boots etc, and an allowance to spend.
The next few months flew by like glue as I waited and tried to find out as much as I could about this place called Eskdale.
When the day came I took a train from Manchester Victoria station, changed at Preston and soon noticed that there were other boys all dressed like me and over burdened with luggage on the train.
It took most of the day to arrive at Ravensglass station (I think) and there we were met by the staff from the centre and driven to a most wonderful building, which I believed to be the old home of Lord Raye (my spelling may not be accurate after all these years) and allocated our Patrols and where we would sleep.
I was put into Scott Patrol and it was there that I first met Tony Titley, a tall thin public school boy who had arrived earlier in the day.
The next few days passed in a haze of activity the like of which I had never experienced. Up at 6.30 and a run around the lake before jumping under the 'wimsey', a device of such horror to a boy from the city that I still shudder when ever I think of it (is it still there?)
We were measured, weighed, made to run up a flight of stairs to see if we were fit enough to survive the course, one boy was not and had to return home.

About half way through the four weeks Scott patrol with a member of the staff went out on our first two day camping expedition.
The weather was fine, cold but dry as we started walking up Scarfell Pike from the Pub at the bottom. However, it soon changed and rain came down like stair rods. we kept walking and eventually camped for the night in Borrowdale. we were wet and dog tired, I can't remember if we had anything to eat that night, I'm sure we did. We changed out of our wet things and into dry and clean clothing and soon fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning we awoke to find that we had pitched camp in a catchment area and we were sleeping in running water. So no dry clothes for us today.
We walked for hours and the weather tuned from bad to worse, blizzard conditions and so cold that I could not feel my feet. By the time we reached the top of borrowdale heading back to the road to meet the transport to take us back to Eskdale we were all very wet and exhausted.
At that time one or two of our group could go no further and the member of staff who accompanied us decided to take them down by a shorter route. We were told to carry on as planned and meet up at the bottom of Mosdale.
We were now in a 'white out' and visability was zero!
Map reading was impossible and I could not even see my compass to take a bearing, so we carried on walking. Most of us kept falling over we were covered in cuts and bruises but we kept on walking down hill.
When we eventually got to ground that was becoming easier to walk on we came across a woman out walking who told us that we were heading in the wrong direction. So we turned round and walked back up Langdale, as I later found out.
By the time we go to the top Tony and another boy who's name escapes me, but he came from Birmingham, could not carry on. Ron Corton and I decided to stay behind with them while the rest of our patrol went for help.
By this time both boys were delirious so Ron and I covered them up as best we could. We were all so tired that we feel asleep almost immediatly. When we awoke it was clear that Tony was in trouble so we tried to keep him warm and out of the snow and tearing wind.
The other boy was also clearly not well as he began to shout and wave his arms about. We restrained him as best we could and tried to feed them both without success!
It was dark when the rescue party arrived and as Ron and I could walk, we were walked and half carried down to the waiting Land Rovers.
That nght because I had injured my knee, I was kept in the sick bay. The next morning I was told that tony had died.
Two days later I met Tony's father Gerald who questioned me about what had happened.

Later the family asked several boys to act as pall bearers at Tony's funeral. We carried out this sad task with pride and humility and attended the family gathering afterwards at thier home.
Ron Corton and I were asked to give evidence at the inquest held in Whitehaven.
Some months later, Tony's Mother asked Ron and I to stay with them for a few days. I think it was cathartic for her, it certainly was for me.
I spent several 'holidays' with Mrs Titley over the next few years, she even gave my driving lessons in her old Morris van!
When she died Ron and I kept in touch with Tony's father who later in life moved up to Scotland. he moved again to the south coast were he died about three years ago age 93.
Ron has lived in Canada since the late 1960's.

Will I ever forget Tony?
No. how could I.

Did the outward bound have an influence on my life?
Without a doubt and I hope, for the better.

Peter Maher JP
April 1960