Bolton School Former Pupils
Aber Camp 1921-38
Between the wars the School held a camp at Aber, on the North Wales coast, almost every year during the late June period of Bolton Holidays. The campers lived in bell tents and the cooking was done on a coal fired field range. The first camp was thrown into some doubt because of a national coal shortage. Over the years many staff helped to run the camp, notable among them being Mr Gwynne Jones and Mr "Bill" Brookes. Always, a School Sergeant supervised the cooking.
We are grateful to Mr John Eaves, now 80, for memories of the camp in 1935.
I remember the long walk to Aber Falls and the pool into which the Falls cascaded. Above that was the steep, almost vertical mountainside with lines of grey screes. Bill Brookes explained to us how to scree-run. There was a spring on the beach which fed clean fresh water, pure and clear and fit to drink into a tiny pool into a tiny pool formed in the small pebbles in the shingle, so that you could kneel down and drink.
I remember the canoes of blue rubber skins with yellow wooden frames and kayak double ended paddles in which we went out alone, but in convoy, over the sea as far out as we dared go, until we were a long, long way from the shore, and yet, when I used the long paddle as a pole, I could still touch the soft sand or mud in that shallowest of seas.
The visit to Beaumaris Castle made such an impression on me that my desire to see it again remains with me to this day but is, as yet, unfulfilled.
I remember the bell tent. I had slept in an ordinary tent but this was my first time in a bell tent. The next time was at Haywards Heath in a wood where nightingales sang from the branches above. It was in the last week of May and the first three days of June 1944 and I was in a holding camp sealed off from the outside world until we left on 4th June to embark before D Day. I thought then of our bell tent at Aber Camp, 9 long years earlier. But which seemed almost yesterday, as it still does nearly 60 years later. 9, 60, 69 years ago, what's the difference when you are 80?
In the photograph, John Eaves is the third from the right.