By: John Lymer
I think it was the Winter of 1986/7 that I joined SCoM, through a chance meeting with former colleague Brian Richardson, skiing with the Club at Rushup Edge/Eldon Hill Quarry, Derbyshire. Prior to that I’d had an occasional weekend foray to ski on snow at Ford Hall, just above Chapel-en-le-Frith, where an enterprising farmer set up a wire tow some weekends. The club had a better arrangement though — 2 lifts, one above the other, providing 180 or 200m of uplift.
For many years, my wife Trudy and I went to the tuition and free-skiing sessions at Rossendale in the Winter. For quite a spell we also went to the ski fitness sessions at Urmston… even after my Cavalier SRi got stolen by a joy-rider from there! Trudy organised the Christmas meal for a few years too, initially at Urmston after the fitness session and later this changed to a Friday night at Deckers, Sale Water Park.
Our loyalties were rather divided in our early days of membership. We were members of Rossendale Ski Club long before SCoM (and that’s how we met each other), so went on holidays with friends from the Rossendale Club for many years. Only later did we try holidays organised by ‘the original’ Paul Sharp (who we met up with again in Devon last Summer, after many years) — not to be confused with an entirely different Paul Sharp who joined the club and committee some years later.
Both Trudy and I did stints on the committee, in various roles. For a few years I organised Friday night speakers for the Winter at The Unicorn, Bowdon — never easy to do, but helped by ideas and contacts from various committee members of the time.
From mountain biking’s early days, in the mid-80s, I arranged annual rides from somewhere that offered bike hire for those who needed it. Venues included Grassington, Settle, Derbyshire, Grizedale Forest and Hebden Bridge. Those rides slowly died out when it seemed everyone who wanted to try mountain biking (and quite a few members did over the years) had done so, bought a bike if they liked it and would then make their own plans, or had too many other competing interests to be available for the date set. I don’t recall there being any accidents and it was a very different time — risk assessments were never contemplated, nor disclaimers to fill in!
Another Summer activity was a windsurfing taster session at Debdale, Gorton in 1993. I have the late Elaine West to thank for that and have been an avid windsurfer ever since! This session coincided with us moving house, hence the precise date recall! I got the bug, booked some beginner lessons at Debdale, then improver lessons at Hollingworth Lake… and have been the Secretary of my local windsurfing club (www.wpwc.org.uk — check us out!) for the last 13 years. In a moment of bravado I’ve just bought a new board with a hydrofoil under it — what can possibly go wrong?!
We missed the original grass skiing outings described by founding members, but went on a trip to Sheffield with a few other members to try it in a park there, arranged through a specific grass skiing club. I recall I fell (a few times) crushing my car keys. I can’t remember quite how I got in the car, but must have managed after some difficulty! We also went to the Snow Dome at Telford with the club shortly after that opened and on other trips, such as to the dry ski slope at Sheffield, which boasted proper moguls rather than the ‘waves’ at Rossendale. The slope at Llandudno was another outing, but that just didn’t seem steep enough, compared with Rossendale and Sheffield anyway.