Stephen Poulton
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Stephen Poulton - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1966

I was privileged to explore the Lake District from Eskdale in March 1966. I was sponsored through my Borough Council, which advertised for youngsters to fill booked places and I was just young enough.

I was on an apprenticeship and my employer consented to 4 weeks away. OB was my foundation to exploration of mountains in a safe way, providing the knowledge to lead climb and to undertake Expeditions. Five years later, having completed my engineering degree and continued my love of mountaineering, the same company sacked me for over-staying my time on an Expedition to Greenland; I had extended 4 weeks leave to 6 weeks when my planned return flight was not available.

My Outward Bound time had provided me with the confidence to develop as a mountaineer and I took on the job of Secretary to the Gloucestershire Mountaineering Club. The voluntary 'Secondary Duty' and my degree led to a Commission in the Royal Air Force, with whom I was able to enjoy outdoor activities with much more consent. The big OB lessons for me were self-reliance, team spirit, fitness, planning and navigation; as an example, when on our team 3 day exped, my 'trust' in our appointed navigator resulted in going off course and chasing to catch up lost time by missing peaks. If I am going to be lost in the mountains, it will now be on my terms!

I have since completed many memorable mountain Expeditions and challenges, many solo (Welsh 3000s, Bob Graham 24hr round (Lake District), Cambrian Way (Cardiff to Conway), as well as leading many trips (completed Scottish Munroes 1987). I am even planning a second Cambrian Way, 40 yrs after my first. What I have valued throughout my lifetime as a mountaineer is the solid foundation nurtured at Eskdale.