Fell & Rock Climbing Club centenary of its “Great Gift to the Nation”

On 8th June 2024, the Fell & Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District (FRCC) shall meet on the summit of Great Gable to celebrate 100 years since its “Great Gift” of 12 central Lake District fells to the National Trust.

The gift was in remembrance of FRCC Members who were killed in WW1.

The fells were purchased by 450 surviving members, whose donations totalled £600. This purchased the freehold of 3,000 acres.

The Great Gift was “For the use and enjoyment of the people of our land, for all time”

List of fells gifted: Allen Crags, Base Brown, Brandreth, Broad Crag, Glaramara, Great End, Great Gable, Green Gable, Grey Knotts, Kirk Fell, Lingmell and Seathwaite Fell.

All the fells are situated close to Scafell Pike; England’s highest summit.

The Commemoration

Groups of FRCC members shall climb all twelve fells and meet up at the summit of Great Gable at 16.00, for an act of remembrance, at the site of the memorial plaque, which bears the names of the fallen in WW1.

In 1924 the dedication speech was given to 500 attendees by FRCC member Geoffrey Winthrop Young and the plaque was unveiled. It shall be read once again by Geoffrey Winthrop Young’s Great Nephew, FRCC  member Richard Hargreaves.

The names of The FRCC Fallen shall be read by John L. Holden, President of the FRCC.

John L. Holden (69), a writer of, and contributor to, several Lake District climbing guides said “This Act of Remembrance demonstrates that even after a hundred years have passed, the sacrifices made during the First World War still have our recognition and respect. This is a cornerstone of the traditions of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. ”

Jane Saxon, General Manager for the National Trust in the North & West Lakes, said:

“The walk on Saturday pays tribute to those lost serving their country, and we share our continued thanks to the Fell and Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District for their generous gift 100 years ago in their honour. Marking the speech made by Geoffrey Winthrop Young in 1924, his tenacity and love for the outdoors serves as a reminder that everyone benefits from spending time in nature, and why we are dedicated to providing more accessible experiences in the countryside.”


Geoffrey Winthrop Young (1876-1958)

An FRCC member, rock climber and author, infamous for climbing Trinity Buildings, University of Cambridge, as well as mountaineering exploits in The Alps.

A conscientious objector who served with The Friends Ambulance Unit. He lost a leg in service in WW1.

He climbed Great Gable to attend the dedication, wearing a wooden prosthetic limb. The ascent took him five hours.

The Plaque

Designed by W.G. Collingwood, former secretary to John Ruskin and prolific author of books about the Lake District.

It bears the names: Bainbridge J.S.; Bean J.G.; Blair H.S.P.; Clay A.J.; Fletcher J.N.; Gross W.H.B.; Hartley E.; Herford S.W.; Jeffcoat S.F.; Lees E.B.; Linzell S.J.; Oppenheimer S.J.; Prichard A. I.; Rimer A.M.; Sanderson R.B.; Slingsby H.L.; Turner G.C.; Whitley B.H Whitworth J.H.; Worthington C.S.

Information about the FRCC

Founded in 1906 at The Sun Hotel, Coniston.

Founders included some prominent climbers local to The Lake District: Scantlebury and Craig of Ulverston, Charter and Gordon of Barrow-in-Furness and Grayson of Kendal.

Other early members were Barrovian George Basterfield and NT Co-founder Canon H.D. Rawnsley.

Present-day members number more than 1000 and include Sir Chris Bonington, Dave Birkett,  and Alan Hinkes.

Other current active local authors, climbing guidebook writers and climbers of note are Al Phizacklea, Bill Birkett, Angela Soper, Max Biden, Ron Kenyon, Nick Wharton, Rob Matheson, Craig Matheson, Stephen Reid, Mike Lynch, David Miller and John L. Holden.

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