Out & About Australia “I felt at home at Calvert Trust” – a report from the 80’s!


The following is an extract from a report written by visitors to the Calvert Trust from ‘Out and About Australia’ in 1988. It’s a great read with many comments and themes still ringing true to this day! We will just point out that ‘Nick’ referred to in the article is still here with us – Nick Ball (one of our senior outdoor instructors and indeed our longest serving member of the team)!

The group of 10, visited to the Calvert Trust Centres at Keswick and Kielder in September to the beginning of October 1988…

After an excellent send off by club members and friends we left Sydney on Singapore Airlines flight SQ222 at 2.20 pm, Thursday 8th September. During the flight to Singapore we were invited to the cockpit where we spent an interesting half an hour being shown how to fly a 747! We changed flights at Singapore where we found SAL staff to be extremely helpful and 16 hours later we landed at Heathrow at 6.30am 9th September.

A minibus had been organised to pick us up and Frank, the driver, dropped us off at the Commonwealth Society where we were welcomed by Rob and Joan – it was also where we stayed our first night and we found ourselves within easy walking distance of Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Piccadilly Circus. An excellent start to our visit!

Next day we were met at Euston station by Dr. Nicholson who supplied us with lunch for the train journey to Penrith and three hours later we were met by John, Peter & Renee and Sue. It was a short drive to the Calvert Trust centre at Keswick where we received the warmest of welcomes. Elsie was there too and this meant a lot to everyone, she and Harry had been closely involved with the Calvert Trust for many years before coming to Australia. They were also founder members of Out & About Australia and had talked often about the possibility of OAA members visiting Calvert Trust. It was a real occasion for us all.

We had been travelling for over two days and were looking forward to putting our feet up but Sue had other ideas! She invited us to the swimming pool that evening for an hour of safety procedures in preparation for canoeing the following day. Nothing like being turned upside down in a canoe after a 12000 mile trip – beware those coming to Australia this year!

There were others from various parts of Britain at the centre and we all mixed in together over the next ten days. There was a great atmosphere at the centre, Peter & Renee, Sue, John, Nick and all instructors doing all they possibly could for us. There were volunteers from various parts of the country and one, Joel, from America.

We were also in the Lake District, one of the most beautiful parts of Britain. In front of the centre is Lake Bassenthwaite and behind is Skiddaw, England’s third highest mountain.

In these surroundings members of Out and About Australia spent ten days on the mountains rockclimbing, abseiling and climbing on Scafell (England’s highest mountain), kayaking/ canoeing and sailing on Lake Bassenthwaite and horseriding at Old Windebrowe. I have particular memories of Samantha, Jane and Ray rockclimbing and-abseiling, Shirley and Rob sailing and canoeing on Lake Bassenthwaite and the day I spent with Sue, David and Rowena on Scafell.

With the patience of instructors and enthusiasm of OAA members we achieved in ten days more than we would have thought possible. It was a tiring ten days but everyone’s confidence grew by the day as we realised just what could be achieved here at Calvert Trust with a positive attitude.

There was a secondary challenge of keeping up with everyone’s hospitality! On the evening of the 14th September there was a special reception for us given by Keswick Rotary Club at Old Windebrowe Tithe Barn. There were 140 guests and we were welcomed by Sir Charles Graham, Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria. We were able to show slides of all activities that OAA members have been involved in since March 1985 and this created a great deal of interest. Lord & Lady Rochdale, John & Claire, Rob & Joan, Peter & Renee and Calvert Trust management committee members all invited us to their homes – wherever we went there was the warmest of welcomes.

We had two members who needed medical attention while we were at Keswick and we can’t thank enough Dr. Mitchell, all those concerned at the Calvert Trust and staff at Carlisle hospital for their help.

On the flight back to Australia I asked members for their impressions of our stay with The Calvert Trust – their answers were many and varied. Here are some of them:

The welcome we had wherever we went – Sue

It has given me the confidence to travel again – Ray

Sailing – a bit muddled at first but really excellent! – Christo

Professional instructors with lovely personalities! – Rowena

An unforgettable trip – Samantha

I will always remember the evening with Claire & John at Mirehouse – and the candle lit service at St. Bega’s – Shirley

Rock climbing! – Jane and Rob

Hospitality fantastic & so much to do too! – David

Abseiling – a new experience, felt confident with Nick talking me down – Sue

‘The Blaydon Races’, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and hospitality with Roger & Sue – Jane

Nothing seemed to be too much trouble – All members

Patience & enthusiasm of all instructors – All members.

Travelling with such a diverse group of caring people – Rowena

I had forgotten how beautiful the English countryside was – Ray

I felt at home at Calvert Trust – Rob



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