Heritage: Rambling group celebrates 90 years of halcyon days

Halcyon Rambling Club - a great group who enjoy nothing more than a good walk in good company whatever the weather
Halcyon Rambling Club - a great group who enjoy nothing more than a good walk in good company whatever the weather

Sheffield club was governed by strict rules and regulations and a limit on numbers in its early years

In 1927, the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star newspaper published a letter seeking people interested in forming a rambling club.

Two weeks later, the inaugural walk of the 
Halycon Rambling Club took place.

Nobody at that time could have known that, 90 years on, the club would still be going strong.

Back then, members’ subscriptions were set at one shilling entrance fee, plus two old pence per week, and membership was limited to 50 people – 30 men and 20 women.

Obtaining membership required that “Each candidate for admission to the club shall be nominated by two members in writing; the name and address being notified to the Secretary.

Variety has always been a feature of the club’s programme

“The election shall be by ballot of the Committee.”

Members would meet in Sheffield city centre and travel by bus to the start point of the ramble.

At the end of the day, the group had tea at a pre-arranged location and then 
got the bus back to town – having walked around 16 miles.

During its 90 years, the Halcyon has seen countless changes, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that the Telegraph’s sister paper The Star still publishes details 
of the Halcyon’s weekly walks.

Halcyon Rambling - 90 years on

Halcyon Rambling - 90 years on

However, in the early days, discretion had to be used when providing route details, if it was a ‘trespass ramble’ – there was no point in alerting the gamekeepers and landowners in advance!

Nowadays the legal ‘right to roam’ is used to the fullest by the group.

“During the war, many rambling clubs disbanded, but not the Halcyon,” said member Pat Mellor.

“Although at times, due to travel restrictions, it was forced to reduce the programme to six rambles per quarter.

Halcyon

Halcyon

“Nor were club members serving in the forces forgotten.

“Club funds were used to provide gifts or which were sent to all serving members who also retained 
their membership without having to pay any subscriptions.

“Variety has always been a feature of the club’s programme and, even in the 1920s, scheduled events included occasional visits to caves, boat trips, one or two weekends away per year and a summer ‘midnight ramble’.”

The Halcyon social calendar for 2017 has also included boat trips and weekends away, as well as a number of other 90th anniversary celebrations.

These included a Buck’s Fizz breakfast on February 25 – the exact anniversary of the first walk – followed by a walk from Eyam.

The anniversary year will conclude with an evening meal at Napoleon’s later this month.

BRIDGESC, Members of the Halcyon Rambling Club on the footbridge over Cranberry Clough in the Derwent Valley.

BRIDGESC, Members of the Halcyon Rambling Club on the footbridge over Cranberry Clough in the Derwent Valley.

A simple plaque marking the anniversary was added to Peak & Northern Footpaths signpost 511, which is located within the Wiseman Hey Clough Plantation on the west bank of Ladybower Reservoir.

Halcyon’s 70th anniversary in 1997 was marked with a plaque placed on the Slippery Stones footbridge at the northern end of Howden Reservoir.

The club’s website says: “This coincided with repairs to the wooden bridge which were partly funded by a contribution from the club.

“Much more recently a major rebuild of the bridge was completed and it is pleasing to note that all the commemorative plaques (including Halcyon’s) have been reinstated.”

Considering the club’s long history, it is perhaps something of a surprise that they have only had nine presidents.

This is largely due to the popularity of Frank Turton, who served as president from 1931 to, incredibly, 1979.

The club enjoys an unbroken record of rambling in one of the most scenic areas of the country.

Visit Halcyon Rambling for details.