Club History

OldPhotoAs explained below our club began in the early 1930's . Here we offer you the opportunity to enjoy some moments from the past and perhaps recognise friends and events from former times. It all started with T. Arthur Leonard who led a party on a walking holiday in Ambleside in 1891. By 1897, the non-profit making "Co-operative Holidays Association" (CHA) was set up.

In 1913 he founded the Holiday Fellowship (HF). Both were national organisations which promoted walking holidays based on their country properties. Leonard was clearly far ahead of his time, a real pioneer. Rambling clubs affiliated to CHA or HF were established. Sunderland had two such clubs which amalgamated at a joint AGM on 22nd March, 1956 under the present club name. Fragmentary records of the two former clubs still exist. One had its first ramble on Sunday 31st May, 1931 and they went to Ravensworth Castle. The first "special bus" was arranged for 7th June, 1931.

Club programmes printed on cards go back to June, 1932. At that time, membership had reached eighty. The club was featured in a newspaper article dated 4th May 1932 headed "Girl Ramblers Who Defy the Weather". We find that "walks never exceed 20 miles - a carefully prepared programme guarding against overstrain." With the popularity of walking and with more leisure time, by 1996 membership had risen to 625. Would those on the first ramble on 31st May 1931 have imagined that, exactly 70 years later, we should be ending a week's hill-walking in the Eastern Cairngorms?