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History of the IWCL




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Bert's early IWCL history

21st Anniversary 1995
Pen-y-Gwryd 21st Anniversary weekend - April 1995 (click for larger image)
Front L - R: Jim Clarke, Donald Edwards, Angus Nicolson, Jeremy Gaffney, John Holliday, Dave Mathews, Stefan Vince, Gerry Davie, Roddy Nicolson, David Porter, Toj Graham, Neil Maxwell
Middle L - R: Ray Beach, Brian Pullee (PYG Proprieter) , Matt Burr, Ivan Ursell, Alan Pryke, John Rendle, Phil Millson, Peter Hendon, Tim Whiteley, Bert Graham, Steve Fleming, Dave Riley, Steve Porter
Back L - R: Alan Phillips, Jane Pullee (PYG Proprieter) , Greg Maddocks, Andy Burr, Dave Ferguson
Like many "clubs", the IWCL grew from small beginnings - with no deliberate intention to expand to the numbers who now look forward to meeting up twice a year. Indeed, it wasn't untill 1981 that the IWCL realised it had "grown up" and thought it approprate to have its very own tie. The true beginning goes back to the mists of.... Since 1966, Bert Graham and Robin Mason had visited the Lake District to combine the annual RAC/Lombard rally with a weekend of hillwalking. ln the spring of 1971, Alan Phillips, his friend Gregg Maddocks, and his friend Eric (the unknown!), stayed at the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel in Snowdonia for the first time. Alan and Gregg returned to the PYG in 1972 and 1973. Alan joined the Pauls malting business in the summer of '73 and met Bert Graham, already employed at Pauls. Alan joined Bert and Robin in the Lakes for their November weekend of 1974. This could be seen as the tentative "birth" of the IWCL, as it was the first (limited) combining of the Wales/Lakes - in the body of Alan. 1975 was the year the IWCL took off (with 6 in number), being the "double" meeting of Lakes and Wales - featuring Alan, Bert, Robin, Gregg, and two new members - Dave Ferguson and Gerry Davie.

Over the succeeding years, university colleagues, fellow Pauls employees, relatives, friends etc... have gradually swelled the ranks. The club is obviously a success as once invited, there are very few who have not wanted to come again and maybe become a permanent member.

Bert's personal account of the early history off the IWCL, can be found here

The casual visitor to this history page, will have noticed that in the anniversary photo outside the PYG, apart from Jane our hostess, there is a lack of female faces. We make no apologies for the fact that the club has developed into an exclusively male preserve. It is nothing to do with sexism - our "other halves" are more than welcome to form their own club! The special atmosphere and comaraderie of our weekends would not just be the same with our wives and girlfriends present.

The Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel has always been the venue for the Wales meet, but the Lakes venues have been various...The first IWCL weekend in 1974 was at the Grange Hotel, Loweswater. In 1975 and 1976 it was "The Bungalow" (now known as Clare's Cottage) in Rosthwaite, and the first of the famous "Long House", Loweswater, weekends was in 1977. Those privileged to have been at the Long House have many fond memories of those weekends. It should be mentioned that It was here that the IWCL "name" was born. Bert uttering the immortal words at 6.30 a.m. on a Saturday morning...."Come on you lot!, It Will Clear Later". Numbers swelled to such an extent that, in a house designed to sleep 10 max, in 1984 the owner turned up to find 24 bodies scattered about - and was not amused! It was then that the IWCL was banished from the Long House.
Bert and Robin
Bert and Robin believe clingfilm is better than Goretex

With keen IWCL members now numbering mid-twenties, the only way to cater for them was to investigate using a hotel. Bert managed to secure the Glenridding Hotel (in Glenridding!) at advantageous rates, and this was to be the home for several years. Unfortunately for us, the Hotel went more and more upmarket, and it no longer needed the IWCL's custom to fill beds in November. We had to move on, and in 1999 we moved to the Bower House in Eskdale Green. Although this was very nice and could cater for our numbers, the walking nearby was limited and we exhausted most routes after the second year. In 2002 we returned to the North Lakes area, and Bert once more did us proud and found a welcoming hotel in Cockermouth, the Allerdale Court Hotel - which is our current home.