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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Outward Bound School, Ashburton, Devon.

I am centre front-row [glasses and white jumper]

I've been going through some items of my memorabilia – photographs and documents – and scanning it onto my computer. It's amazing what we forget until we see a visual reminder.
In my youth I attended an Outward Bound Course at Holne Park, Ashburton, Devon. I've found my log book written at the time and a photograph of the group (patrol) I was teamed-up with.
I must have arrived at the centre on Monday 4th April and departed on Saturday 30th April. Unfortunately there isn't a record of the course number or the actual year in my log but based on the historical calendar I believe it was 1966.
It would seem that I was in Drake Patrol along with (difficulty reading my writing at the time) Drew Buck, Jim Clegg, Geof Hogg, Brad Hallowes, Bob Povey, Dick Potter, Dave Ravenscroft, Cliff Swanson, and Andy Wood. The photograph I believe is of our patrol but I do not know who is who, other than I am centre front-row [glasses and white jumper] and the gentleman far-right back-row I assume is the instructor Mr Evans. In the log book I have a note of a Lt. Col. Frazer as the Warden and a Mr Kirk as vice-instructor.
I am intending to write a memoir article about my experience and would appreciate any further details relevant to my time at Ashburton.
Are you, dear reader, one of the people I've mentioned; or know one of them? Or, did you attend an outward bound course at Holne Park some time in April 1966; or do you know someone who did? Are you able to confirm; the course number; the year of attendance; the names I have for the Warden, instructors and participants? It would be good if I was able to allocate/tag names to the members of my patrol in the photograph. Are you able to offer any other information about the Outward Bound School at Ashburton circa 1966?

 © Elliot Sampford


  1. Roger JonesApril 23, 2014

    I also attended the Outward Bound -Devon, but in 1964. I was also in Drake patrol,
    and, like yourself, have my log book.

    1. Thank you Roger for your comment. It is good that you have your logbook as it is the only record you can read to remind you of your experience. When the association moved out of Holne Park, on the cessation of their tenancy, the records of the time were left behind and were destroyed by the landowners – not their fault as it was considered as rubbish left by the association.

    2. David Machin. davidmachin48@gmail.comDecember 06, 2016

      Hi Elliot, just found my little blue log book and my course was D67 which I attended in 1967. I was Captain of Gilbert Patrol and our Instructor was Ian Howes. I absolutely loved every minute of it..taught me a lot about "Teamwork".
      Me and two other students arrived three days early due to being given the wrong start dates so we too great pleasure in riding into Ashburton on the School's bikes, getting to know the locals and quaffing copious amounts of the local Scrumpy.
      Returning to the lodge one evening desplaying rather "raucous" behaviours we were met by Lt.Col Frazer who gave us one hell of a dressing down. During the course he insisted on calling me Capitan for some reason. Best ever "camping trip" I've been on!
      Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to The Royal Geographical Society in London where the are celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Outward Bound Trust.
      Maybe we could swap memories and stories if you are attending.
      Kid Regards
      Dave Machin
      Finningley South Yorkshire.

  2. Pete VincentMarch 11, 2015

    I attended A Holne O. B. Course in 1971. I was a member of Carew patrol. Can anyone remember the name of the cottage where the students stayed when climbing on the Dewerstone

  3. Hi Elliot, I too was on that course. Like you I have just found my log book & (rather more ominously) torn up incomplete remnants of the Final Scheme log card (or, as I remember with our juvenile humour at the time the "Final Solution".) I can confirm the 04-30 April 1966 was course D-51. I was in Hawkins patrol- "Happy" Hawkins as I recall under Mr Choat(e?)- we always came last!! I have some photos & the names of our patrol somewhere, but as it was a bit of an eyewatering experience I didn't keep in touch with anybody. Paradoxically in my retirement I now live in Devon, one of the things |I do to pass my time is as a Volunteer ranger for NT based in the Teign Valley RIGHT ON THE SIDE OF DARTMOOR!

    I too am sitting down this morning to digitise my log book, whether it will become a memoir is too much to promise at this stage!!

    Best regards Peter Drinkwater

    1. Hi Peter,
      thank you so very much for your interesting comment, confirming the dates and the all important course number.

  4. AnonymousJune 19, 2016

    hi I also attended a ob course in 1975 at ashburton , I was there as part of my time as a student at bircham newton civil engineering course . I also remember spending timein the cottage , pot holing , sea canoeing , and the final expedition over Dartmoor . we had a ex commando called tony I believe who was a instructor and a American woman , people on the course with me were a guy called chris fielding and pete ross , - there were others - its a long time ago .

  5. AnonymousJuly 16, 2017

    I attended the Outward Bound School in Devon around March 1962. I recall making good friends with Stewart Ramsey from Scotland.

    Frank Wolstencroft

  6. David Diggins 27 July 2017
    I attended the Outward Bound School at Holne from December 1963 to January 1964 when very sadly a student & instructor were drowned Berry Head. It was a very tough course which included a 4 day/night trek around Dartmoor in January camping out under a waterproof bivouac!!

  7. Hi. I attended Outward Bound course at Holne Park in 1971. In NOVEMBER!!!. Have some great memories. Jumping off Holne Bridge. In November it would have been kinder to remove the water. On the big hike on the last week waking up to a frozen solid tent. What do you do with a frozen tent. We jumped on it to try and make it carryable. Enjoyed the mountaineering and potholing. (had a 28" waist then). Didn't like the cold showers each morning. Learned quickly to carry the food on hikes. It gets lighter. Great memories I am boring my grandchildren with. Regards to you all

  8. I was at Holne park in August 1974. I was sent for a month from Renolds engineers in Bradford. It was part of my apprenticeship. Wasnt looking forward to a month away, but it was great. Would like to do it now. Morning runs in pumps and shorts then a jump in the river Dart woke you up. Character building. Visited the park in 2012. Brought back memories.

  9. ANTHONY BLYTHMarch 30, 2018

    Good Evening Anonymous June 19 2016,
    I am Tony - your instructor!! MY surname is BLYTH and I was actually a former Paratrooper. June 19 happens to be my birthday so perhaps it was fate that I should read your comments. The American lady was called Polly Parsons - a realLy tough individual but she was a delight to work with.I hope you enjoyed the experience and I am still climbing mountains and leading expeditions!


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