Piet Loomans
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Piet Loomans - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1960

In November-December 1960 I visited the Outward Bound school in Eskdale. It was a senior course and I participated in the Nansen watch.

From the Netherlands it was quite a trip in Nov.1960 to the Lake District. Hook of Holland-Dover then by train to London and Ravenglass. I still think it was an experience, arriving in the early night in the dark and the transport to Eskdale was something.

The four weeks that followed were tough; climbing Scafell Pike - Great Cable - rock climbing - canoeing in the lake - cold shower - physical fitness. I remember that at that time the chapel was built and all of us were there when the Bishop of Carlisle inaugurated the building. On a visit I made in September 2001 the chapel was gone.

So a lot of impressions I experienced during the war as a youngster living in the west of Holland: no food - no heat - etc. having been in the airforce - weapon and electronic squadron I had already some knowledge in tough life. But what the school presented was quite something. Mountain expeditions - physical exercise in many forms - duties in all variations gave me at least some power and strength.

The second school I visited was the Moray Sea School from Nov. 11-Dec. 6 1963 (Course M 134). Two flights Amsterdam - London - Edinburgh and a train to Elgin. In Edingburgh, in a hotel I heard in a distance a performance of the Beatles. I was not sure if I could spend my sponsors' money on the entrance fee.

In Burghead, the reception was in the late evening and a fully dressed Scotsman was there to welcome the party. The Duncan watch in which I was placed consisted of 10 people (Keith Coombs, Mike Hall, Linden Boone, Rob Kirk, Ray Marsh, Jimmy Tudhope, Keith Ritson, Allen Parry, Roy Radford and myself) and John Feather was our instructor. A full scheme of duties and daily performances was presented. Seamanship - physical fitness - sailing on the Prince Louis - mountain expeditions.
I remember having been in the Orkneys - Kirkwall - Stromness - Skara Brae - Carn Kitty - Dava moor expedition - Clan Shields - etc. Coming down from three days Dava Moor mountain expedition, John Feather was waiting at the foothill and told us that J.F.Kennedy was assassinated. But when you learn to speak the English language that word 'assassinated' I heard for the first time and they had to explain what it meant. This particular moment you will never forget in your life. Also the drowning of Kenneth Clayton made a lot of impression.
I returned for a private visit in Eskdale fortunately on a open day Saturday Sept. 29, 2001 with an old colleague. He is suffering from M.S. He participated also in the 60's on a 4-week course. He wanted so much to revisit the place to remember the time he was physically fit, yet he had to do it in a wheelchair. We were a party of 4, my wife, the handicapped friend and his wife. We met several people but unfortunately I cannot remember names and some people who were related to Cdt.Clark who sailed the yacht "Solace"� and wrote the book "On the wind of a dream"�. I also met Keith"�"�.. instructor? who offered me to climb one more time the Scafell Pike, but unfortunately the time was not available and the responsibility I had for the visiting party prevented me to do so. Maybe someday?

We are the parents of two children. Our son is a university graduated chemical engineer and our daughter became a golf pro. This year we are going to celebrate our 50 years wedding anniversary. We have 6 grandchildren. My age is almost 74 and I am retired for 14 years.

Summary: Having been in total 8 weeks pushed in situations which normally not occur in life helped me to overcome stressful situations connected to my technical profession. All this helped me to carry out all sorts of work, technical and electronic engineering, installing large printing machines all over the world and I finished my career as a training coordinator in which job I spent +/- 12 years to give information on how to maintain and operate these machinery to staff and operators in house and at site.

Hopefully this small remembrance history will give you the impression that the two courses I participated in did help me at least to give me the necessary strength needed in life. Maybe we will consider in the future to send our oldest grandson, having an English father, to one of the courses, therefore I signed in for the E-newsletter. In the past I also received a brochure but that stopped for unknown reasons.

I want to congratulate you with the 70th anniversary next year.

Supplement: I could not have written the impression about the Outward Bound if a gentleman called Mr V.B.Feteris, managing director, had not given me the opportunity to go to the schools with the background thought to improve the skills in the former company Feteris Nautisch Technische Dienst, in which I was employed from end 1957 until 1972 working in the workshop where nautical equipment was overhauled and maintained collected from ships moored in the harbours of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

Mr Feteris was and still is enthusiastic in forming a good operating organisation and as a training object and to increase the efficiency, he had the impression that the English method at Outward Bound could be a good start to build up such a new future, and first of all that a character can be formed and improved under difficult circumstances. That was the main reason that I had to undergo this exercise and also my colleague Kees Romein who went to the school in the 60's and now is suffering from M.S.

We meet Mr. Feteris still once a year and believe it or not the conversation returns always to the Outward Bound times and still with a flickering in the eyes and that even after almost 50 years. Mr.Feteris himself has his residence on the Isle of Man.

I finally hope that this addition will give an extra motivation to people to learn how to react in difficult situations under supervision of a good developed organisation as The Outward Bound Trust.

Piet Loomans