Further to the post by Jeff Taylor of the ICI Discoverer Camp of 1965, here is a photograph of the Discoverer Camp of 1966.
For those not familiar with ICI and it’s apprentice/youth trainee schemes, the Discoverer Course was character building and a pre-cursor of the team building events held today.
The course was held at a tented camp at Ingleby Greenhow. The term “Discoverer” meant that over the two-week period of the course, both the ICI youth management team and ourselves, were to discover what leadership, decision making and team working skills we possessed, if any. The participants on the course were 17 and 18 year-old apprentices and process youths from both ICI Billingham and Wilton, who had to put themselves forward for selection for the two week course. At the camp we were divided into teams and then coached in outward-bound skills by a team of Instructors, Jeff Taylor being one of them. The head Instructor was Frank Sterret, seated front centre, he was one of the youth training managers at ICI Billingham.
The activities we were engaged in, included, rock climbing and abseiling on the Wainstones, forestry skills, that included tree felling and retrieval, with Forestry Commission staff and constructing timber structures, as can be seen in the photograph back left, we also did night hikes and a three day hike, where we were given a set of map coordinates with which we had to hike to a given destination. To prove we had plotted our route correctly, we had to leave evidence of our “visit” at the said coordinates, like leaving a note under a pile of stones, which was checked out later by the Instructors. During these hikes we had to sleep out in bivouacs that we had to make from branches, heather and bracken.
There were also plenty of onsite activities, including, kitchen duties, cooking on old army stoves with the camp cook, Bert Blackmore and cleaning out the latrines, I can still smell the Racasan fluid now !!. And who can ever forget the early morning “Wakey! Wakey!” call for the cross country run, ending with a crawl through a stream culvert and finally the ice cold shower. I also can remember returning home after the course was finished feeling totally knackered and sleeping for the whole weekend. What great days, we were very lucky young men to have the opportunities that ICI afforded us.
I have tried to name as many of the ICI Billingham participants as possible, apologies for any incorrect or missing names… but it was 55 years ago!!
Photograph and details courtesy of Mick Haines.