The Burnmoor Lodge Tradition

This article was written shortly before the Club was set up in 2012:

In setting up a Burnmoor Lodge Club, we need to consider what brings us together and our shared aims and experience. Clearly, it is Burnmoor Lodge itself which forms the common factor. All of us who are considering membership of the new club, and probably all who may wish to join the club in the future, have an experience and appreciation of the Lodge, or at the very least we have a close relationship with someone for whom that is true.

Our experiences of the Lodge, however, are quite varied. Some of us go back to the very early days of John Foote's involvement. He already had a love of the Lake District, particularly the hills, and when he found out that Burnmoor Lodge was available for him to rent, sublet by the tenant Dr Stephens, he responded with characteristic enthusiasm. Not surprisingly, he immediately saw the potential for taking young people, some of whom were from disadvantaged backgrounds, to a beautiful and tranquil environment, where they could develop an appreciation for natural beauty, discover adventure, learn about the Christian faith, and mature spiritually. John was already heavily involved in youth work at his church, St Paul's Hyson Green in Nottingham, and ran a youth group which was affiliated to the Covenanter Union, a national Christian youth organisation. He saw the opportunity to take his own youth group members to Burnmoor, and also an opportunity to provide adventurous holidays open to teenage lads from all over the country. Those of us who remember those days, which extended from the mid fifties to the late seventies, with affection, naturally have a wish for a continuation of something of the tradition he developed.

Others of us have a family connection with Burnmoor, having been taken there for family holidays from a very early age, or have been introduced to the particular delights [sic] of such an unusual and remote location through friends. We will all have enjoyed good company, and most of us will have had at least some good, or changeable, weather and responded to the landscape, the feeling of wildness, and the ever-changing lighting which at times is so uplifting. Some of us do not consider ourselves to be in any way “mountaineers”, but if we have visited Burnmoor Lodge we have walked across wild and rough ground and probably experienced some wild mountain weather. Some of us do consider ourselves to be, in varying degrees, mountaineers, and have sought out challenging climbs, walks and weather conditions. Among the non-mountaineering activities that have been undertaken at and around the Lodge are:

The club should allow and indeed welcome all of these activities, and more. Just as the Lodge has been visited in the past by a wide variety of people, so should this continue to be encouraged. These days it is much more difficult to involve groups of young people in adventurous activities, partly because of legislation and partly because of changing attitudes to risk. The club has to take note of higher standards and expectations of care. But where possible and appropriate, it would be good if the club could facilitate continued use of Burnmoor Lodge in the tradition started and developed by John Foote, without whom the Burnmoor Lodge Club would not exist.

Jonathan Foote