Formation of the Eden Valley Mountaineering Club

Formation of the Eden Valley Mountaineering Club

There used to be the Penrith Mountaineering Club which was active up to the early 1960’s. This morphed into the Penrith Mountain Group and the club ceased in October 1964 at a meeting in the Gloucester Arms.

In 1969 the crag at Lazonby was discovered and climbed on by John Workman, John Simpson, Alan Beatty and Dennis Hodgson and further developed in the early 1970’s by the likes of Phil Rigby, Ron Kenyon and Tim Dale.

In 1973 the crag below Combs Wood at Armathwaite was discovered simultaneously by Stew Wilson and also Tim Dale (who had been on a geology trip from QUEGs). This was developed by the “Eden Valley” group and was later discovered by the “Carlisle” group with the likes of Jeff Lamb, Pete Botterill, Pete Whillance, Mike Hetherington, Alan Greig etc.

Ron Kenyon went to college in Nottingham, about this time, and met up with members of the Nottingham Climbing Club, including Doug Scott. One evening, just before finishing college, he was getting a lift from the Dolphin Inn, in the back of a minivan with Doug. Doug offered to give a talk in Penrith on his new book – “Big Wall Climbing” – for the princely sum of £25. When Ron went back to Penrith he had difficulty, for various reasons, in getting any group interested in having this lecture.

In the early 1970s there was an active band of climbers, walkers and mountaineers in the area with a tenuous bond between them. There was a chap called Jim Kilduff, who lived locally but he had joined the Carlisle Mountaineering Club, as he could not find anyone locally to climb with. We met Jim and he was surprised that there was this “merry” active band of local climbers.

The idea of a climbing club started to develop following on from the above to:

  • Bring together local climbers, walkers and mountaineers from the Eden Valley area
  • Look to promote the crags at Lazonby and Armathwaite with a guidebook (written by Stew and Ron)
  • Have a club to organise the talk by Doug (with many more talks to follow !)

An inaugural meeting was arranged to be held in the bottom bar at The Gloucester Arm (now Dockray Hall) on 13th December 1973 at which the Club was formed!