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History

The HRC (Hanliensian Rambling Club) was founded in 1929 by a group of ex-pupils from the old Hanley High School. Known as the Old Hanliensian Club - Rambling Section, the first walk was on 16 June 1929. It was a 25-mile walk from Leek over the Morridge to Butterton, down the Manifold Valley, returning to Leek in the evening. This walk was repeated in 1979, the 50th Anniversary of the club and also in 1999, the 70th Anniversary. One particular subject of great interest was a treasured photograph memento of the original jaunt. Early walking parties showed that there was a great deal of difference from the modern clothing and gear. The ladies turned out in short coats, tweed skirts, blouses, berets and ankle strap shoes; the men in jackets, ties, plus-fours, hob-nail boots and trilby hats. Sandwiches and other refreshments, plus spare clothing were carried in haversacks.

The very first HRC Walk 16 June 1929
From left to right:
Eric Breeze, Neil Digney, John Digney, Rex Knott, Gordon Major, Reg Jones, John McKellen, Reg Hackney, Stella Morris, Eric Bench
Founder members in 1929

Lengths of walks became more ambitious and extended, but transport was limited and buses and trains took on great importance in planning the rambles. Times and fares were printed in the programmes. In the 1930s two packed meals were often carried, but on other occasions a tea was arranged, followed by games and quizzes. There were times when both setting sun and moonlight accompanied the walkers back to Leek. In those early days, the members sought more distant rambling areas, with an ascent on Snowdon in 1932, and a coach trip to the Lake District for an expedition to Great Gable in 1933.

From October 1933, the name was changed to the Hanliensian Field Club, which continued to prosper throughout the 1930s. Club activities came to an end when war broke out in 1939. In 1945, a member and a previous secretary decided to try and restart the Club. An advertisement was placed in the Sentinel, and four people turned out. The club limped along, and in 1948 an emergency meeting was held as to its future prospects. Fortunately, it was unanimously agreed to keep going with the name changed to Hanliensian Rambling Club. Soon after, at a Hobbies Exhibition in the Kings Hall, there were a number of enquiries and several new members. Since then the Club has not looked back.

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The firstholidayabroad was organised in 1958 when a group of members visited Austria. Since then we have been to Jugoslavia, Majorca, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland, France, Madeira, Slovenia, Italy and America and returned twice to Austria.

Also in 1958, the Club arranged the first Blind Ramble in conjunction with North Staffordshire Blind Rambling Club. This year also saw the inauguration of the Photographic Competition.

In 1971, a group of twelve members conquered the Welsh 14 3,000ft peaks. In 1975, many members completed the Lyke Wake Walk, and in 1979 nine members battled against the elements in walking the Cambrian Way. A series of coach rambles, commencing in 1986, completed the Offa's Dyke long distance route, and in 1987, the Staffordshire Way was overcome in relays within the space of 24 hours. A party completed the Coast-To-Coast Walk in 1990 and in 1991 the West Highland Way. The years from 1998 to 2003 saw the completion of the Dales Way in a series of coach rambles, interrupted in 2001 by Foot and Mouth disease and in 2004 a similar enterprise started on the Calderdale Way, completed in 2009. Also in that year a large party spent a week walking the Cumbria Way. This was followed by a succession of 5 or 6 day holidays each year 2005 to 2009 in The Lakes, Snowdonia and the Yorkshire Dales featuring harder walks over the mountains using Youth Hostel accommodation. Currently the Cotswold Way is being walked with coach rambles in June and September, and a smaller group is completing one stage each summer month of the Shropshire Way.

A new venture started in 2000 when a party of French walkers from the Perche region visited Edale and the Club provided leaders for their walks in the Peak District. This in turn led to a reciprocal arrangement in Northern France in 2001, followed in 2003 with a French group visiting the Lake District for a week of walking organised and led by Club members. The same year a party from the Club enjoyed a week-long visit to the Loire Valley where acquaintances were renewed with many of the French group. Further holidays have been shared since, twice at Patterdale, at Croyde Bay, at Céret in the Pyrenees and at Keswick in the Lake District.

Socialevents have always formed an important part of the Club programme, including: slide shows, photograph competitions, barbecues, dinner dances, folk evenings, Scottish country and barn dances, brewery and theatre visits and weekly keep-fit and badminton sessions. More recently a yearly 'Kiddies Walk' has been introduced for the children and grandchildren of members. This comprises a day of activities, food and a short walk.

The rambling activities feature in a comprehensive and varied programme. These include: A, B, C and D grades, full-day walks, evening walks in summer, coach rambles, YHA and caravan weekends and Club holidays in the UK and abroad.

The Club website was first uploaded to the Internet in September 2004 and then transferred to this present domain www.hrcwalks.org.uk in November 2004.

Today the membership stands at about 275 and the Club confidently expects to widen its walking and social activities by continuing to stride purposefully into this new Millennium and into its eighty-third year.

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