The Duke of Edinburgh and I

I understand that the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme has invited particants to share their stories on social media. I achieved the Bronze Award in the early 1960s but never took it further.

As a bright lad, I found most of the stages of the award something of a doddle. The problem was the requirement to spend a night camping.

As a Manchester lad, I’d never spent a night under canvas (and, since then, I’ve never spent another night in the open). I went on the trip with a school friend from Derbyshire in the hills around his town of Glossop and we were massively underprepared.

We had no tent poles but used a snooker cue instead. While trying to plant the cue in the hard ground, it snapped, so we stood the end on a rock.

I spent all of that bitterly cold night wrapped around that cue trying to keep it upright as the wind had other ideas. I still remember seeing the moon rise, move slowly across the sky, and finally fall – as I pledged “Never again”.

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