Entry for the Fjallraven competition in May 2013 – runner up prize and published
Thank you Mr Hill
An overcast, grey day in October 2011, reminded me of that day in 1964 on my first visit to ‘real hills’. Pulling the Campervan up the steep hill into the car park at Crich Stand and walking up the hill, autumn winds finding gaps in my fleece, memories of forty eight years ago came flooding back, the coach at the bottom of the lane, discharging a mixed group of twelve year olds from a mining town secondary modern school – very few of us had appropriate clothing [as regarded today] few boots, but all had a ‘rainmac’ and a bag of sandwiches, most of us had never seen a ‘real hill’ these were mountains.
Walking up the track to the Stand, staggered rows of hills stretched out, with the grey gritstone buildings in the valleys, standing out against the elements, we went close to the edge of the quarry to look over, in those days a working quarry, now a tramcar museum. This was ‘magical’ I wanted to see more.
From Crich, The next objective was Stanton Moor, gaining height past Stanton Quarry my first introduction to ‘moorland’. I remember the ferns, the smells of damp undergrowth and the openness , walking on to Robin Hoods Stride – lunch sat on a real mountain – the feel of the rough granite rocks as we sat and opened sandwiches carefully wrapped in greaseproof paper – little knowing that this was the start of my affection of the mountains and moorlands. The following year Mr Hill took us along the Edges, Baslow, Curbar, Froggatt wow! I knew I wanted to spend more time discovering mountains - seven years later, rock climbing in the Peak district was to become a weekly outing, along with tramps across the Kinder moors, leading to a lifetime of visits to the other mountain areas of Britain and Europe.
Thank you Mr Hill for taking us, having the vision in the early 60s’ to see the value of taking a group of Secondary Modern kids to the great outdoors and of course inspiring me and making a ‘life-changing experience’ – in return I have taken many groups walking and climbing, and my own sons have continued to enjoy the mountains with one spending time in Antarctica and the other climbing a Peak in the Himalayas.
Published in Great Outdoors May 2013 issue 61