by Ruth Gordon
The Derwent Mountaineering Club started life in September 1972 after a few members of the Matlock Motor Club discovered there was life beyond the tarmac. Notices placed in local shops, including the recently opened Bivouac in Matlock Bath, led to a meeting at which George Fowler, prime instigator, arriving late after his car had broken down, found himself elected president of the new club. The inaugural meet, at Aldery Cliff, Earl Sterndale, on 1 October 1972 was preceded by a memorable party on Smedley Street, complete with a rolling of beer cans competition down Bank Road! Members travelled from Sunderland and London to share the fun. So the twin social and sporting aspects of the club were there from the start. Family and fun meets, with competitions inclusive for all the family, continue to be part of our calendar.
Back in 1974 the club debated the wisdom of joining the Derbyshire Caving Association but the cavers grew in number and a Caving Section was formed in 1977. By 1978 climbing walls started to
feature on the winter calendar and continue to form a regular social gathering in winter, along with the scary outdoor nights, navigation games and night climbing. Others go running and we usually
have a good turnout for the Dovedale Dash. A photography competition has been part of the calendar since the 1970s, recently supplemented by a winter lecture programme where members tell us about
their exploits. Recent shows include trekking in Ethiopia, Mountain biking in Morocco and travelling solo in Rwanda, Tibet and Mongolia.
Now, in 2012, the club is approaching its 40th anniversary. We have had a lot of fun together over the years, and today we have the biggest membership ever. A quote from Journal 9 sums it all up really:
“Many good routes have fallen, (as have some members) much snow has been tramped underfoot, many mountains ascended and much ale consumed.”
Long may it continue.
Want to know more?
Have a look at Journal 24 1998.