I was introduced to knots at around ten years old when a teacher borrowed a copy of Ashley and showed us a knot board he’d created. Full of bravado, I thought, “I can do that!” With some green felt from my mother and my older brother’s scouting books, I produced my first knotboard which was then displayed at school. My father encouraged my interest, buying me a copy of Cyrus Day’s Pocket Book of Knots and Splices, and a marline spike.
Knots featured heavily in our scout troop’s pioneering activities and in rock climbing in Senior Scouts. In my mid-twenties, I entered the fire service in which knot tying was considered an important skill. During off-duty hours, I held training sessions for fellow recruits in return for pints of beer! Later in my fire service career, I was asked to adapt mountain rescue techniques for urban rescue in the early days of rope/high-angle rescue.
I discovered the IGKT in the mid 1980s at the annual reunion of wood badge holders at Gilwell Park in Essex, UK. Frank Harris demonstrated his Turk’s Head grid sheet and, as promised, mailed me a copy. He included a Guild application form and I was hooked!
On retirement I had a period as a bench rigger for Tradline Ropes & Fenders at the heart of the English canal system. My time with the Guild has been very rewarding because of all the friends I have made, but especially for the period as editor of KM. I still use knots on a regular basis, as my wife Jane and I travel the canal and river system on our narrowboat home.