Tony Convery
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Tony Convery - Loch Eil, Scottish Highlands, 1971

I see from your website that the Outward Bound Trust started at Loch Eil around 1976/8.

I attended Loch Eil for a 3 week Outward Nound course back in February of 1971. In fact, the date was the 15th: the significance of this being that this was the day that our UK currency changed from pounds & shillings to the new pence.

The attendees of the course were gathered from a number of schools covering Glasgow & the West of Scotland. On arrival we were all split up and allocated dormitories. You may just imagine the diversity of the young people within the group. Coming from an RC Junior Secondary I was somewhat daunted by the prospect of what was to come.

My selection to attend by my school St Aelred's was more than likely based on the fact that I was a member of the Schools "Adventure Club"� which ran an old classic coach on hill walking outings one Sunday a month.

From what I recall the first week was a basic introduction to each of the activity areas progressing in duration and degrees of difficulty as time passed.
My most vivid experience was being asked to capsize my canoe in the middle of the loch with spray deck on. How crazy, but I sure learned how to get out and then had a great incentive to master an Eskimo roll. The canoeing was my favourite activity form white water rapids on the river and crossing Loch Eil at its narrowest point with the fast flowing currents.

Orienteering: consisting of individual and team events, all I can remember is running around in t-shirt and shorts is the wet and cold!

Sailing: The sailing was limited mainly due to poor wintry and windy weather, I never had any natural ability, so was not selected for the three day sailing trip.

Hill walking, again I enjoyed this very much, we set out on a three day expedition with our tents and walked around the mountains surrounding Ben Nevis, often in whiteout conditions. Visited the research station at "Corrie Leis"�

For the first few nights as result of noisy and unruly behaviour we all spent some hours running around the ice cold games barn in bare feet and pyjamas. These punishments soon tailed off as everyone was knackered form daytime activities.

In summary and with no understatement this was a tough gig for a number of reasons. However, coming from a family with 5 sisters and 4 brothers I learned to follow the middle ground. I was not confident or tough enough to be king pin but I was cute enough not to be the timid mouse to be picked upon. Human nature is a wonderful and strange thing at the same time.

I did survive! Not just the course but went on and carried on with my scouting from which I have only just in the last year retired from running a scout troop facilitating front line activities for many of the young people in our great country.

In a funny way I'm proud that I was able to participate in the course back in a cold February in 1971.
The mere fact that I'm able to review my memories it has had an obvious impact on my life to date.

Tony Convery