1962 Aberdovey - School Camping Trip

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Below is the front of a postcard (postmarked September 1962) that I sent home from a school trip to Aberdovey. It was a trip packed with incidents. There was nearly a fatal accident on the beach when (Trevor?) Jones got caught out by an outgoing rip-tide. He had to be rescued by Mr Yates, who only just made it back with him and who looked totally exhausted. Bill Potts later paid an unplanned visit to the site, I'd guess this was because of the beach incident.

Derek Johnson

The nearby Outward Bound?/conference centre

Chris Horrobin says "The only public mention of that camp was the assembly citations of IIRC Duncan Bloor, and possibly others, for the sea rescue. I don't know how many grey hairs the staff acquired that day but it was a very near miss. "

There was also the tree incident which I don't recall but Chris Horrobin says " One afternoon some boys took it into their own hands to chop down a tree - which didn't fall properly. Harry Taylor later came to their defence on the grounds that the tree was a dead one anyway."

This is taken from the 1962 School Magazine "THE REVIEW"


The School Camp was held, as last year, in the last week of the school holidays on the Orchard Site at Rhowniar. This is on the coast of Central Wales between Aberdovey and Towyn. The site is very close to the sea and excellent for camping. We arrived at the site at two o'clock after a delay of half an hour caused by a tyre blow-out about twelve miles from Aberdovey.

All the tents had been erected by Mr. Yates and several boys who had travelled down earlier in the morning. Mr. Taylor and his grandson had travelled with us in the coach and Messrs. George and Bancroft had reached the site some time before us. Messrs. Salt and Bromfield arrived later in the day with their respective wives, Mr. Salt also bringing his two children. All the masters and wives helped in the kitchen and all the boys were very grateful for the work they put in and we should like to thank them for it.

On Sunday morning it was raining and the prospects did not seem too bright. In the afternoon a party went swimming under the direction of Mr. Yates. The current however soon proved itself to be strong and two boys found themselves in difficulty. Mr. Yates helped these boys to the shore but in the meantime, Jones found himself in difficulties and some distance from the shore. Mr. Yates again went to the rescue. It soon became apparent to the boys on the beach that they were going to find it difficult to get in unaided. A senior boy ran back to the camp site for assistance and others brought the lifeline and lifebelt from the hut behind the sand dunes. One boy swam out with the belt and both were safely hauled in and what might have been a serious accident was prevented by everybody keeping their heads and acting intelligently.

During the week all sorts of games were played. There was a football match with the staff for Wednesday afternoon on the beach. As in most staff matches, the staff won. One senior boy who played for the staff had accidently injured our star player in the morning in a practice match (typical tactics).

The weather was generally gloomy with some periods of sunshine, notably on Wednesday and Saturday. On Thursday afternoon boys had the option of staying out for tea but because of the weather some remained in camp. Generally a camp fire was built each night by Messrs. Bancroft and Taylor and the boys gathered around it for cocoa and a sing-song. Mr. Ballham and his family, who were staying in Towyn for the week, visited us most evenings and were welcome additions to the singing. On the last night the camp fire was the largest of the week but since the night was the coldest of the week, it was enjoyed the most.

Saturday morning was devoted to breaking camp, taking down the tents immediately after breakfast. Dinner too was early and the marquee which we had used for meals was finally lowered and packed with the other equipment. We returned from an extremely satisfying holiday, enjoyed by all.

D. Johnson and C. Hancock.

Bernard Wight says "I went sometime between 1957 and 1959. Charlie George was there. We slept on straw palliases, collected stuff from a farm, washed in basins of cold water, walked across a railway line and through a firing range (?) to get to the beach, could only swim with supervision, walked into Aberdovey and Towyn - there was a cinema which was open only on a Wednesday."

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