Sutton Rambling Club roll back the years with 80th birthday walk

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MORE than 40 ramblers rolled back the decades on Sunday as Sutton Rambling Club celebrated 80 years of existence by retracing their first ever walk.

The expanding club marked the landmark occasion with a 10 mile journey along a section of the club’s first ever ramble, which took place in June 1931 around the Matlock area.

Walkers were also treated to a nostalgic steam trip on the Peak Rail between Matlock and Rowsley as well as refreshements and speeches from club officials and long-term members.

And amongst the group who enjoyed the steam trip was 100 year-old Fred Bartle, who first joined the club way back in 1933 and was an active member for more than 30 years.

Fred said: “I remember back then we were not welcome in pubs and places like that because we always came in wet and muddy. Thing’s have changed since then.

“When I first joined the club people thought it was important to get out in the fresh air and we did lots of walks in the fields covering great distances.”

During the walk John Price, committee member, said it was an emotional day for everyone connected with the club.

“It is a real achievement for the group to have made 80 years and we are really thrilled to be following in the footsteps of the club’s first ever walk,”said John.

“We are growing in numbers at the moment and, in this day and age, that is another achievement we can be proud of.”

In recent years the community club has enjoyed a resurgence in numbers as more and more people discover the pleasures of the great outdoors.

John (62), who has been a member of the club for 14 years, added: “Sutton Rambling Club offers a lot of things to a lot of people.

“We provide a combination of recreation, social life and the chance to get out and about.

“We provide a good mix of walks taking in many beautiful areas such as the Peak District.

“For me Ladybower Reservoir is my favourite walk that we do, but we have something for all tastes which is pleasing.”

Club secretary Bernard Lancaster, who has been walking with the club for 49 years during which time he met his wife, said there was now a real buzz inside the club at the moment.

“We are thriving at the moment really and are now getting between 30-40 people on each walk,”he said.

“We have had ups and downs as a club but things are going well at the moment and there is a real positive vibe in the group.

“Walking seems to be getting more and more popular.

“We are a family-friendly club with a good mix of people. Right now we are looking forward to a positive future.”

And although the group is mostly made up of older members aged between 50 and 70 years-old, the club is keen to stress its benefits to both young and old.”

Said John: “Our club is open to the whole community and I would recommend coming on one of our walks for anyone who is looking to make new friends or get into shape.”

For further information on Sutton Rambling Club and future walks, call 01623 796396 or visit www.suttonramblingclub.com