Sunday 16th October 2011
So the day is finally here, bags packed and ready to go, have I packed all what I need? Oh well if I haven’t got it its tough now. So I leave a sunny Kent on Sunday morning heading to Wales some 5 hours away, the drive was pretty non eventful.With the sun still shining I drove into mid Wales taking in the fantastic views and in no time I found myself pulling up the drive at the Outward Bound centre at 1500. To my surprise I was the first to arrive, I was informed that Howard had been called out on the lifeboat call and was running behind, no worries I’m sure I can amuse myself,
Ian turned up some 10 minutes later, after we greeted each other and had a nervous conversation about how much stuff we brought; Ian suggested we walk to the village for a refreshment of some kind. Within 20 mins we were supping on a fine beverage and just chatting about what we thought the week was going hold for us.
By the time we got back to the centre all the others were turning up in dribs and drabs, all of us like excited kids. By 1800 we were led to what was going to be home for the next week, at the top of the camp was our house, our names were called and we were directed to a room, My roomies for the week were Nigel and Barry. then we discovered that each one of us had brought everything other than the kitchen sink. It was a quick tour of the camp and a 1000 mph briefing on the week ahead before scoff.
After dinner it was decided that we would go off to the village to find the libary we’d heard so much about, so off we all went for an evening of culture and reading…………
first night impressions, what a great bunch of people I am about to spend the week with.
Oh yeah and it has started to rain………lights out and alarm set for 0630.
After a noisy and pretty smelly night (What do you expect with three blokes in a room!) mind you the noise was a cross of snoring and my squeaky bed, I had forgot to switch the work alarm off so woke the room up at 5, sorry chaps……but they fell back to sleep, I got up at 6ish and was gagging for a brew, however no kettle in the room. Being as prepared as ever out came the camping brew kit so not wanting to turn the main light on had the head torch on standing over a gas burner making a brew, I’m not sure if Barry thought i was some sort of nutter or that he was still dreaming, but the brew went down well.
After a hearty breakfast it was time for a full brief and tour, as we walked around we stopped and was introduced to the spiders web
Howard then told us that we were to get our team through the web and only use each hole once and only allowed to touch the web three times…….. after much laughter and a lot of thinking we completed he task, not sure if we only had three touches but hey who was counting.
Happy with our shallow victory we continued to walk the grounds only to stop again at the 12 foot wall, with a smile on his face Howard then informed us this was the next challange
Once again we proved ourselves worthy of title of outward bound mentors and scaled the wall like a crack team of commandos, well kind of……..
At 11.00 it was time to go meet our instructors for the first time, I got Matt,
we sat and chatted for a bit about ourselves and what was expected of the week and how the time table looked, we then went over the names and details of our kids that were joining us.
It was now a waiting game for the coaches to arrive, most of us just kicked around drinking coffee, those that did sneaked off to check on the dogs as it became know ( Had a smoke). Nigel had brought a DHL flag with him and managed to get it hosted on the OB flag pole.
Then at last the buses arrived and in they came.
Once the last coach was in all the schools met under the flag pole to be split into their teams, it was funny to watch as some were paired off with friends and sad as others were split from their best mates, but hey thats what the week was about.
Matt and I took our group of 10 young adults off and introduced ourselves and what the week ahead looked like, we informed them we were known as team Scott, after Captain Scott of the Artic, they were then informed to go get changed into shorts, t’s and old trainers, it was time for JOG & DIP
Jog and dip was a short run down to the beach and yep run into the refreshing river Dovey, which I must say was not as cold as i thought it would be, but then it was also raining, a jog back to camp and off for a shower and change.
It was then a site tour and admin with the newly formed Scott team 8 warriors and two princesses. some free time and scoff.
After dinner it was a timetable for the week with expectations and thoughts, it was to be Rock climbing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was the expedition a two day trek and camp, in-between time we were to have activities around the camp.
Off for our first activity The wall……now put down to 10 feet this was to become the teams main challenge of their week, the team needed to be over the wall in a minute or less, hence to say their best time of that night was closer to 5 minutes.
Above: first attemps at the wall
By 2100 we had issued the team with wet kit, given them a pep talk and I had wondered what I’d let myself in for, on the whole the kids were… well Kids on tour really, there were the quite ones, noisy ones and testing ones, but a good bunch. So 2100 and into the cook house for hot chocolate, it was for them back in the dorms for 2200 and lights out at 2230………yea ok! Kids on Tour………think there was still a few wandering around at 0330
For us it was a chill night, I wanted to check out my kit for the trek, this task was to become a standing joke for Barry and myself as if I unpacked and packed it once i’d done it a dozen times, I’m sure he thinks I’m OCD…….Barry had nipped to the library to pick up a book or two, Nigel was on camp the next day so was packing, a few of us just chillied out and chewed the fat. Barry the legend brought me back a book…..so much for the early night, we sat around chatting and hearing the kids run amok till the wee hours. By the way we had our brew kit delivered too, so no more camping stove in the morning.
After a good breakfast, it was off to meet Matt for a briefing on the day, sort out the climbing kit and meet the kids after morning assembly. we took a mini bus to the rocks, well almost to them, there was a 20 minute walk all up hill with only half the team wearing a rucksack which contained two climbing helmets & two harness’s, by the time we got to the rock face you’d have thought we just scaled Everest, which gave me a bit of a concern as we were off on a trek the next day and they would be taking far more kit than that.
Climbing was great fun and again, some of the kids took to it well, some thought they would until they were on the rope, but they all took the commitment and tried
Matt had said we needed to be away just after lunch to go and catch the train in the village and if we missed it there was a long wait for the next one. now by all accounts and by his own admission, Matt’s track record of catching trains over the last few weeks was not good, and time was not on our side once again. we set off at a brisk pace into town, which soon got into a jog, I was tail end Charlie and push the team along, it was a good few k’s to the station and the team was quite spread out, by the time I arrived with the stranglers Matt was stopping the train from leaving, so we only just caught it.
By the time we got back it was de-kit then off for free time and scran.
The evening session started with a trip to the wall, the team had started to shape now and work together, getting the time down to 1 min 20 seconds. Then a trip to the stores to get kitted out for the two day trek, first a lesson in the common room on how to pack a Bergen, a process that was to be repeated many times during that night in the stores as the team just couldn’t get to grips with it and really did not believe Matt and I that all their kit would fit in plus room to spare for food. we called time at 2100 and decided to finish the rest in the morning before we left. The team went off for hot chocolate in the cook-house, Matt took me to the staff room where we briefed on the trek and the next two days.
for me the night ended with a Night Navigation exercise and off to the the library for quiz night, which the OB instructors team won. the walk back had its own challenge with Spencer taking the led on the coastal path…….. then back to the room with more chatting with Barry ( Nigel was on camp) till the early hours, and yes I did unpack and pack the Bergen again………….
Just writing part two,