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Rambling through 100 years.

READER and former Evening Gazette journalist Beranice Semp has been looking at the history of the Middlesbrough and District Rambling Club, which is celebrating 100 years of walking.

ONE hundred years ago, which makes it just two years before the First World War, a group of walkers gathered for the first time.

They called themselves Middlesbrough and District CHA and HF Rambling Club and their organisation had been set up to celebrate the joys of fellowship and walking outdoors.

This month members of the Middlesbrough and District Rambling Club raised their glasses to their walking forefathers at a centenary celebration.

Today's group meets every Sunday to put their best foot forward on organised walks in the hills of North Yorkshire or further afield. And 100 years ago, ramblers set off in similar directions - the Hole of Horcum, Whitby, Glaisdale, Great Broughton, Stokesley, Helmsley, East Cleveland and Westerdale.

STEPPING Eric 1959 In 1912 the ramblers selected routes that were in the countryside of Middlesbrough, areas that are now built up such as Tollesby and Hemlington.

Records show that the founders widened their activities and a committee chaired by a Mr J M Russell of Stockton indicates that club members were involved in a host of leisure pursuits right through the year.

The hardworking general secretary was a Herbert F Smith and committees included a ramblers sub committee, a free holiday sub committee, an honorary musical director, and even a tennis club committee, whose secretary was a Mr R S Sutcliffe.

From 1928 the president was Alec Falconer whose home was "open house" for 40 years.

The organisation was born following a rail journey. The story goes that two dedicated walking enthusiasts independently returning from walking holidays met for the first time on a train and struck up a conversation.

They decided that the joys of rambling and fellowship should not be confined to the holidays. It is probable that those early walkers clambered through rough undergrowth in old Army boots or steel-capped walking boots and that the women wore skirts and sensible lace-ups. They would not recognise the present generation in windproof, waterproof gear complete with hi-tech walking boots. The 21st century club runs two groups, one for walkers covering eight to 10 miles, the other for those who prefer shorter walks of up to six miles.

Chairman Bryan Johnston, a retired company director, says: "Our walkers are of varied ages from around 40 onwards to people well into their eighties and our target this year is to attract younger people to carry on."

Club member Hal Jackson, 82, says: "You forget everything that worries you when you are out there in the beautiful countryside. " * If you want to join the club, call Bryan Johnston on 01642 590023.


GREAT OUTDOORS: Farndale, left, and taking a break between Hilton and Crathorne, main picture, both in 1959, while Anne, Sam and Tony consult a map between Kirby and Cold Moor in May 1961, below STEPPING OUT: Club members, above left, Nancy Furness, Maurice Ward, Eric Hamilton, Olive Wiggins, Mary Ward and Keith Hamilton in October 1959 at Preston Park and a group stop for coffee at Kirby in April 1954
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2012
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