Club History 1923 – 2012
Members were generally in their 20’s or 30’s and car or motorcycle ownership was very rare.
By 1927 there was growing interest in organising a wide range of social activities (e.g. dancing at the Palais once a month) and in 1935 a regular Club Night was established.
A heated debate over Saturday versus Sunday rambles occurred in the early 1930’s.
Membership peaked at 276 in 1931 to settle around 160 by the late 1930’s.
The Club was founded on 26th February 1923 at a meeting held in the Friends’ Schoolroom, Friar Lane. It was initially named The Holiday Fellowship Rambling Club and the annual subscription was 12.5p which reduced to 5p as membership grew.
Rambles were commonly 16 – 20 miles and stopped in late afternoon for a “full tea” costing 7.5p. Departure times from Nottingham could be as early as 6.00 am and in winter the walking after tea would be completed by moon or torch-light. (This might explain why membership dropped!)
In 1931 the club built a wooden bungalow near High Peak Junction which remained in great demand for over 70 years. Also very popular were week-ends away for activities such as cycling, climbing, camping, pot-holing and sailing as well as walking.
Many rambles were in Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire and used local public transport. In 1932 a special ramblers’ train from Nottingham was introduced giving easy access to Derbyshire along the Matlock/Buxton line.
Club coaches were used to access other parts of Derbyshire.
1945 – 1959
The Club survived WWII through the efforts of lady and older members, maintaining a limited programme of walks despite restrictions on public transport. After the war the Club was reactivated by members and returning service personnel. Walk distances reduced to 12 – 15 miles.
The ramblers’ train was at its most popular and for longer walks in Derbyshire the 8.00 am bus to Manchester was used. On the club coaches communal singing was very popular.
Week-ends away restarted in 1946 with destinations such as the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Wales and Peak District. Particularly popular was the February week-end spent at Hope during which winter walking on Kinder Scout was enjoyed. With increasing numbers wishing to take part these became great feats of organisation.
In the early 1950’s clinker, mugger and tricouni nailed soles gave way to Vibram.
The regular Club Night was very popular. In the 1950’s much of the entertainment was provided by members and included an annual pantomime. Also popular was the Boxing Day ramble which was normally followed by a meal and country dancing. The 1956 event became an epic involving an 11 mile walk through increasingly deep snow from Thorpe to Hulme End, followed by a meal at the Light Railway Inn but instead of the expected dancing members had to walk a further 4 miles through the snow to meet the coach on the A515.
1960 – 1979
Up to 1970 public transport or club coach was always used to access walks. After 1970 use of private cars became more common and public transport declined. Club subscription was 22.5p in 1963 rising to 45p in 1973. A typical summer walk was 12 – 15 miles and in winter 10 – 12 miles.
The Club regularly filled a coach for the Whit week-end away. The 1963 event was particularly memorable because the high party on Cader Idris was struck by lightning and one member spent the night in hospital after being carried off the hill by mountain rescue.
Club nights became more reliant on speakers and slide shows rather than member generated entertainment. Rambling activities were badly disrupted December 1967 – April 1968 by a foot and mouth disease outbreak.
In 1973 the Club celebrated its 50th birthday with a dinner at which the Lord Mayor of Nottingham was guest of honour. Members also repeated the first ever Club ramble.
In 1974 a small group of members completed the tough Derwent Watershed Walk (40+ miles) in less than 24 hours.
Also completed were the Three Peaks (22 miles) in 1977 and the White Rose Walk (34 miles) in 1979. 1976 saw the start of the Club Holiday initially this was a week spent at one of the HF houses in the UK but later holidays visited the Alps, Dolomites and Majorca. Regular Wednesday walks commenced.
1980 – 1999
Around 1980 membership peaked at close to 500, and advanced outdoor clothing, based on Goretex and Polartec fleece, became commonly available.
Celebrated 50th birthday of the bungalow with an all night walk in 1981.
In 1982 hosted the National AGM of HF.
The Club organised a “stile fund” in 1983 whereby at the end of a walk each member paid 1p for every stile crossed. These monies when collected together at the end of the year were sufficient to pay for construction of a footbridge near Hope.
The Club completed the Coast to Coast (over a few of years) and the Cumbrian Way (1989). The 1990’s saw the end of Club Nights and a wider range of walk lengths were introduced.
In 1994 the Club purchased a mobile home which was installed near Ingleton.
The Lord Mayor of Nottingham invited the Club to the Council House on its 75th birthday in 1998.
2000 – Present
Foot and mouth disease badly affected activities February – September 2001. Disposed of the bungalow 2001 (however it still exists and is now being extended and refurbished for use by the landowner).
Currently the Club is very active throughout the year with events designed to suit the current membership:
– weekly Sunday rambles alternating between hire coach and car,
– fortnightly Wednesday walks,
– coach based long week-end holiday in the spring,
– car based 5-day holiday in the autumn,
– several social outings per year.
And……….. Club membership is growing.