OUR IMPORTANT HISTORY OF THE WANDERLUST RAMBLING CLUB 1932 to the present day.
We are one of the oldest rambling clubs in the country being an embryo idea formed in the minds of our founders Nev Cole, Harry Bateman & Roy Smith in 1930, with a love of the countryside, walking and enjoying the company of others. It is possible our club was formed before the mass trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932. The footpaths of that day were very over grown and sometimes very hard to find, and the early years of the club were sometimes very difficult. With the second world war fast approaching and many Members joining up, it was left to the younger Members to (fly the flag) one such being our Vice President Ron Saunders, now in Australia, but always keen to visit and keep in contact. We now have a healthy Membership over 200, with ages ranging from five to octogenarian & nonagenarians, and all ages in between, who enjoy the walks , countryside, socials and companionship, we are above all a friendly club always giving a warm welcome to New Members.
Now we are very fortunate in our club as we have kept our historical papers and records going back to 1932, which are stored in six boxes which we call our memorabilia. While looking through one of the early boxes I came across Nev. Cole’s address to the Silver Jubilee Dinner Dance at Field House, Bargate, in 1957 which I think puts our beginnings in a nutshell.
THE WANDERLUST RAMBLING CLUB – J. N. Cole Speech 1957
The early thirties were great years for rambling, or hiking as it was then called. It was front page news in the press, and the topic for popular songs.
Grimsby had several thriving clubs, one recalls the H.F. Esperanto R.C., the Old Winghams, Scartho R.C., Seatons R.C. Cleethorpes C.H.A., Y.M.C.A. the Cleethorpes R.I.P. Rambling Club & there were clubs at the Paper Mills & other works. Also there were rambling clubs at Louth & Immingham.
The Wanderlust Rambling Club sprung from a young peoples’ circle of friends based on the Wesleyan Chapel in St. Peters Avenue Cleethorpes. I had been rambling since 1930, interested in natural history, rather than walking, never the less, on joining the chapel, it was not long before groups of us were doing weekend hikes, and caught up with the craze, as more became interested, it was natural that we should become more organised, and form a club. What should we call it? One of the girls had a Bukta rucksack called The Wanderlust and that was the name we chose.
The first few months and years of any organisation are always difficult and The Wanderlust had its difficulties, we were all raw and had a lot to learn, both about the countryside and its etiquette, and where its footpaths lead to. We were also raw as Committee Members, but learnt the hard way, and gradually affiliated ourselves to, and took an active part in the running of the parent bodies, like the Lincolnshire Ramblers Federation, The Y.H.A., The Footpaths Association and later The Grimsby & District Wayfarers Association of which we were the founder club.
What were rambles like pre-war, as compared with to-day? Well, firstly, The Wanderlust never used buses, all rambles with few exceptions, started at Love Lane corner on cycles at 9.30 am. This had lots of advantages, in as much as we always had an early start & we could cycle to where we pleased, and so rambles could start at places like Thoresway & Stainton-le-Vale. Secondly, both dinner & tea were always carried, cups of tea were the only expenses for the day, & pre-way one got as many cups of tea as one could drink for four pence, if one spent six pence it was a dear Sunday out. The rambles themselves followed the same pattern as they do to-day, with the emphasis on good companionship, an appreciation of the countryside and natural history, and the sheer joy of walking. As the late thirties approached, and other clubs fell by the wayside, Wanderlust went from strength to strength, until the war curtailed activities.
Early in 1946, with one or two of us back in civvy street, a start was made again, and along came all the old difficulties, but this time we had experience, and so, although there were quiet periods, The Wanderlust forged ahead, until now it is the premier rambling club in the county.
I haven’t mentioned any names as there are so many stalwarts, both of yesterday and to-day, nor have I given any indication of the thousands of hours of voluntary time that have been given freely by each successive Committee to make The Wanderlust the lo-cal household name it is.
What has The Wanderlust achieved in its quarter century of existence? Probably the answer is in what The Wanderlust has given me – my best friends, and the pleasure of enjoying their friendship where it is appreciated to the full – in the countryside.
Green pasturage and the grace of standing corn, and meadow and marsh with springs and unblown leaves, flocks and swifts, herds and all that bite sweet grass.
What we are up to at Wanderlust today
We are a friendly club of over 220 Members, who enjoy walking in the country side, lead by knowledgeable leaders. We invite you to come on two or three of our walks to try us out, and if you like us and what we do to join us for £5 per year, which I know will not break the bank. When joined we have a News Letter every two months, online or, if you do not have a computer, to your door. Our hard working volunteer Committee Members work very hard to ensure you get value for your Membership fee by having a full programme of 6-8-10 -12 &15 mile rambles on the first and third Sundays of each month and a ramble on the fifth Sunday on months that have 5 Sundays in them. We also have 6, five mile rambles on Wednesday evenings during the summer months. Each year our Rambles Secretary organises a bus trip to a rambling destination 2-3 hours away, to enjoy 6-9-or 12 mile rambles, which prove very popular. Our Social Secretary is always keen to listen to ideas Members have for social events and interesting coach away day visits, which she organises each year. For socials we have carveries, Fish & Chip nights and Sausage & Mash, with entertainment, which has been popular for well over 30 years. Also we have weekend and 3-4 day coaching breaks and mid week coaching breaks to include walks in interesting areas.
For those who can no longer walk 5 miles and longer we have our Strollers Group who ring around to enjoy a short 2-3 mile walk finishing off at a tea shop or pub for a social get together. On the last Thursday of each month we also have a 6-7 mile ramble, with a ring around to tell you its start point. In November of each year they have a shorter ramble and finish off with a meal to celebrate the end of their walking year to which they restart at the end of January. We are always keen as a Committee to welcome new ideas to improve our club. So I hope you find Wanderlust Family is the full package and there for you all to enjoy!
In the 1930s after the club was formed a chrome shield badge was produced for its Members to display. One such Member was Freddie Womack, after he passed away some years ago his badge passed on to his daughter. She became an acquaintance of Ian Robinson, a 10 mile regular today. Finding out he was a Wanderlust Member she gave him Freddie’s badge, which he is very proud to display on his rucksack.
Those Members who returned from the Second World War found some new blood and carried on the good work of The Wanderlust. Ron Saunders one of our Vice Presidents, being one of this group was asked to come up with a new idea for a badge, this being the 2nd metal badge down the left hand side with the smaller set of boots on it. This badge was given to Peter Bateman by his Aunt Mavis, which he treasures as a link with our Great Clubs past.