This came to us from a family friend who recently passed away. Jim always chatted about his time here and how it influenced his move to the Lakes in later years.
Jill Dawes, Brathay Trust
The following is an extract from a Log Book completed by a Jim Cave in 1952. Jim was on one of the Four Week Apprentice Courses – our standard fare in those days.
Let's take a look at what he wrote:
(On arrival) We rather shocked a shopkeeper by buying 15 bars of chocolate. This we considered quite a modest purchase considering the expected ravages of the course.
(In the dormitory) Our early arrival had enabled us to procure strategic positions away from the door and near the windows.
(Kit issue) Every lad was issued with a rucksack map and compass (2 between the dorm) tin plate & mug, a knife, fork and spoon, an anerak (sic), sweater and boots.
(The morning swim) We all assembled in the hall at seven o clock and walked down to the lake accompanied by the Warden. (Mr Doogan) I had the doubtful privilege of being the first in.
(Whalers) ..popularly known as the ‘slave galley’. We rowed down the lake blissfully unaware that there was a fairly stiff breeze behind us so we experienced great difficulty in returning…
(Recreation) In the evening I went for a swim and stayed in too long. I received massage treatment from Mr Doogan and two instructors after which I was put to bed with 2 hot water bottles.
(Sailing) The wind had been very strong in the morning but it died away…so that it was sometimes difficult to make any progress. In the end it was necessary to paddle back.
In the evening a dance was held in the big room. About 25 girls came up from Ambleside… After canteen, the girls were taken back to Ambleside by Brathay cars.
(Mountain day) We climbed up to Stickle Tarn then, in parties of three, to Sergeant Man, High White Stones, Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle and Gimmer. Then down to Mickleden through the scree shute.
(Forestry) We spent the day chopping, sawing, splitting and piling logs under the supervision of two foresters. In the evening we had Discussions… allowed to air any grievances or improvements. As a result the first rising bell was to be rung at quarter to seven (not 6.55?) so that there should be more time to assemble.
Many boys were stung by wasps as they went down for the early morning swim. At eleven o clock we tried the fire escapes. (Rope slings out of the windows) In the evening I went to the local picture house with Fred and Barrie…had to sit on wooden seats.
In the evening Mr Doogan called a meeting to appoint committees for Sports, Brathay News, & the Concert. Afterwards Mr Liddle, one of the instructors, got out his ‘squeeze box’ and we had a sing song.
(On the lake) A Lancaster bomber started low flying over the lake. A film unit photographed the plane from a launch… This was for the forthcoming film ‘The Dam Busters’.
(First Expedition days) Most of us we were moving by quarter to five this morning as I was responsible for getting them up at half past four….Our captain got our instructions from Harry Wightman. (No details of trip. Too occupied?)
(Mountains again) Driven to Dungeon Ghyll…over The Band, Three Tarns and Bowfell. Met Outward Bound Eskdale boys on a bivouac expedition. On to Sca Fell in thick mist…As we were all soaked we only stayed for a minute before descent via Esk Hause, Angle Tarn, & Rossett Ghyll. Had a play reading in the evening. Very tired.
Saturday, and a visit from Dad who had come up by bus and train. Found place for him to stay. Went rowing. Then took him up Tod Crag. (!)
Two day expedition down the lake. Intended to sail but rainy and no wind. So rode in the (motorised) ketch, towing the boats. Very cold. Camped at YMCA Lakeside. Bed by quarter past nine.
Next day up at 4.30 and off by 7.30. Walk back to Brathay through the low Fells & forest.
Next day, sailing, despite rain and little wind. ‘In the evening there was another dance which we quite enjoyed.
His log book was now full so there must have been a second volume covering the last ten days! I wonder if it will ever come to light...