Graham Thomas’s Walking and

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My name is Graham Thomas and with David Millington we lead and organise the “Summer Saunters” Adrian Taylor runs the Winter Wanderings Program.

As an introduction to our group I thought it would be of use to give a short history of the background behind the group.

Anyone is welcome to join us on the walks that vary in length between 4 and 7 miles depending on the time of year, the terrain and the weather.

 

The origins of our Walking Group lie back in June 1972 when as an employee of the Royal Ordnance Factory at Chorley my wife Sandra, son David & myself decided to join the ROF Rambling club. The Club walked every two weeks, generally in the north west of England, with a Coach as transport.

Through these walks I got to know the surrounding countryside including The Lake District & Yorkshire Dales, learning to read and interpret maps.

In those days the scale of the maps were 1 inch to 1 mile so navigation was a difficult acquired art. The Coach was always full with nearly 60 people attending, several walks being available on each trip varying in length and severity.

I met David Millington, who was also and employee of the Royal Ordnance Factory while walking with this club.

In 1975 I joined the Committee to try and change the way that the club was being run.

The club wasn't as popular as before due to the repetitive walks so numbers on the coach were declining.

To save money, costs were rising due to lower numbers and increasing fuel cost, the walks were now being run every 3 weeks. This eventually went to once a month. It was a vicious circle, as people were not walking on a regular basis so when they did walk they were not as fit and didn't enjoy the walk. Because the Coach had to be full to be cost effective, the walks started to be cancelled so David Millington and myself started to do the walks with some of the Club members using Cars as transport. This happened throughout the autumn and winter of 1979/80 and during this period since we were walking every other Sunday we were getting fit and able to do distances of 14 miles in a day. Also during this period I met Dave Lister with whom David Millington and myself formed the core of what is now the walking group. My son was in the local Scouts and my wife and myself were to attend a meeting at the Scout hut. It was here that I met up with David Lister and his wife who also had a son in the same Scout Group. I had seen him on walks before so we got chatting about walking in general. He was looking for a group to walk with so I told him about our walk that David Millington and myself were going to do on the following Sunday. The rest is history.

 

In March 1980 the committee of the ROF club decided to try and run coaches again. To show some solidarity with their efforts we decided to join their first walk to Malham. David Millington was going to lead a walk from Gargrave up to Malham then round Malham Tarn before returning to Malham via the Cove (the Malham Horseshoe). Due to a “misunderstanding” the Coach went to Skipton instead of turning left at Gisburn towards Settle.

The ROF club always had a Coffee stop en-route so the Coach stopped at Skipton.  It was 10.30am now and it meant that we wouldn't be walking until 12.00 at least. This was a crazy situation. I told David Millington that I was going to start walking now via Flasby Fell then continuing onto the Malham Horseshoe.

I walked over the fells & caught the “A” party at Gordale Scar & continued the walk with them, walking a total of 19 miles that day.

There was an argument on the Coach when we got back due to the time we returned to the coach (a reasonable 5pm) and the fact that since the others were not fit they had done only a short walk around Malham & had got back early to the coach.

David Millington and myself decided to breakaway from the group and return to doing walks on our own & using our own transport.

In a very short time the ROF club would no longer continue with the coach, and although they did try to continue on a monthly basis using cars for transport the club ceased to exist.

Several others from the ROF club joined David and myself so we effectively carried forward the ROF club into a new era.  Changing personal circumstances effected the timing of walks eventually moving from every other Sunday to the Tuesday nights in summer and Saturday afternoons in the winter.

This came about because I was involved with the Leyland Historical Society.

I became friends with Dr David Hunt, he being the curator of the Leyland Museum on Church Road.

I started leading walks of Historical interest in the area & after one of these sorties across Farington Moss on a rather wet night while the party were drying themselves in front of the fire in The Railway Hotel Midge hall, David Hunt chatted about the fact that we could do this on and official basis via the Workers Education Association. the WEA,

So we led walks together over the next seven years gaining a reputation for doing historical walks & enjoying the countryside at the same time doing

It was after about 6 years that certain members of the class stated that we ended the walks in mid June & this was at the best time of the year for lovely weather.

So I decided to do a walk the following Tuesday, starting at 7.0pm from Leyland Worden Park. Most of the class turned up.

After only a few years of doing these Tuesday nights it was stated again that we ended the walks in September due to the shortage of daylight. We didn't re-start the walks until the following May. It meant that people were struggling because of they had a lay off during the winter.

I decided to continue to organise the walks on Saturday afternoon at 13.00pm giving time to do things in the morning.

 




 

  

Graham Thomas & Family joined ROF Ramblers & met David Millington

Sunday 30th April 1972

First walk with David Millington & David Lister. Ribchester Hurst Green  

Sunday 11th Nov 1979


First WEA (Workers Education Association) Class (with David Hunt at Ulnes Walton                   



Thursday 7th May 1987

First Leyland Historical Society Walk    Jerries (The Plough) Runshaw                                   

Tuesday 9th June 1987


Did a short walk with some friends. Cuerden Whittle Brindle                    

Tuesday 25th June 1991


Got Train Tickets for the Coast to Coast long distance walk from Leyland Railway Station then did a short walk around Farington

Tuesday 23rd April 1992

First Tuesday walk after WEA Classes ended at Worden Park: Leyland.

Was asked to continue walking during the summer months so met at Worden Park at 7.00pm  


Tuesday 16th June 1992

First Saturday Walk. Traffalger: Salmesbury.

It was noted that if we didn’t end the walks in September,

We could stay fit all through the winter months


Saturday 11th Sept 1993

Last Saturday Walk. Because of changes to David Millington and Graham Thomas lifestyles the decision was made to cease Sat Walks but the Tuesday walks continue in May 2016.

Adrian Taylor decided to continue the Saturday Walks but only walking once a month with Graham Thomas leading the Traditional Christmas Walk.

Saturday 19th Dec 2015

Below is a brief history of how the Walking Group developed

THE HISTORY OF THE WALKING GROUP

Summer Saunters