Saturday May 8th 2010 dawned bright and clear, which was a good thing, as a group had to walk to the Yearning Saddle refuge on the England / Scotland border way up in the Cheviots near to Lamb Hill. It was not known as to what the composition of the group would be but in the event a large number of just over forty turned out at Buckhams Walls Car park near to the head of the Coquet Valley towards Chew Green.
They comprised members of the Northumberland National Park Search and Rescue Team (where John was the Team Leader in the 1970s, including one member now aged 91). There were also Members of the Ramblers Association as John had served on the Executive of the Northumbria Group which has nearly 3000 members, ex colleagues from Northumberland County Council, where John was the first Footpath Officer and most importantly his wife and two sons with family (one of whom wheeled a buggy up the path through some peat to the top!). In addition there were also family friends from St Paul’s Church at Cramlington.
Durham Ranger Service were represented by Doug Moffatt and myself as Secretary and Chairman of the Pennine Way Association respectively and several walkers from our Guided Walks, including Alan Stewart and Les Teal who both did much work as Rangers in our earlier days.
Other noteable members of the PWA present were our Vice President Trevor Hardy, who had also worked closely with John at Northumberland County Council as well as the Rescue Team. Ron Powell who had came up from London and Graham Daniels, our past Treasurer who had came all the way from Dorset, as well as Bill Button and Roy Morley.
The temperature at the hut was circa 4 degees and with a brisk wind blowing it certainly felt cold, although it was pleasing and reassuring to see everyone was well clad. Most of those present appreciated the tot of whisky donated by the PWA in John’s memory as it was his favourite tipple as well as a welcome addition to his marmalade!
The placque was put up inside the hut for protection against the elements by Roy Morley and Bill Button, who provided the tools and equipment. The same team had experience having fixed Ken Willson’s memorial on Maize Beck bridge.
The Durham and PWA contingent braved the cold as the views were magnificent and continued north on the Pennine Way along to Russells Cairn before returning to the valley by way of The Street, where we got our best ever close-up of the wild goats which were less that ten yards way but downwind. Those who have been close to them in the past will know the reason why!
Elsewhere on the Pennine Way in Durham the improvements alongside the Tees near to High Force is appreciated by all those who walk this superb section of the route.