Posted by: Richard Neale | July 26, 2011

Roast Beef Dinner on a Mountain

Tables laid, candles lit, flags hoisted and everything ready for the banquet

This weekend I had the unusual experience of sitting down to a four-course roast beef dinner – with coffee and after dinner mints to follow – high up on a hillside at Llyndy Isaf.

I was the guest of honour of the Columbus Fellowship “Sigma Camp” which has been located every summer  in a secluded hollow tucked into the hillside above the farmhouse since 1960.   This charitable organisation, which aims to promote an interest in outdoor activities through adventure, enables children to develop self-reliance, responsibility and consideration for others.

This year, I was in the company of 101 children and young people looked after by a team of teachers presided over by the redoubtable founder-member Mike Thompson (MBE).  Mike was one of a small group of teachers that started the fellowship back in the late-fifties and he has been the driving force behind these summer camps ever since.

Before we tucked into the meal – prepared by the youngsters themselves in a highly organised camp kitchen – Mike made a speech emphasising how important it was that the National Trust appeal succeeds, so that the two organisations can work together to extend and enhance the opportunities for young people to gain inspiration from this amazing place.

I’ll raise my glass to that.



  1. I attended Columbus Fellowship camps at Llyndy Isaf as a child in the 70s. It is truly wonderful place. This year two of my children are there. Hopefully the National Trust and Columbus Fellowship will be able to work together so that I can visit my grandchildren at CF camp at Llyndy Isaf in another 20 years time.

    • Hi Dave, great to hear from you. I was so impressed by the setup at the camp. Let’s hope that the appeal succeeds so we can work with the Fellowship to keep the camps going.

  2. My two sons have just got back from this year’s camp along with the usaul happy memories of shared times with friends and funny stories. A truely amazing place run by amzing people..long may it continue!

  3. I have just returned from the second camp after spending just a weekend there. I have been going to these camps for over 20 years and have progressed from a camper to eventually leading the camps myself, learning new skills and gaining qualifications with the help of the Columbus Fellowship. The reason for spending only a weekend at the camp is because I brought my 5 year old son who I had very low expectations for what he would achieve; just not wanting his mother would have been a bonus! In fact he excelled himself and climbed Cnicht, an 8 mile climb, and fully involved himself in all that I had done when I was young. If it wasn’t for Mike Thomson MBE none of this would have happened, he has been an inspiration, not only on the camps but also when he was my teacher at school. I hope that the Columbus Fellowship continues to grow and develop for the benefit of young and old alike.

    • Hi Kevin. Thanks for sharing your experiences of your visits to Llyndy Isaf. I’ve been struck by how many people of all ages have benefited from these camps and Mike’s inspirational leadership. Long may it continue!

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