Welcome to the Willows School Rambling Club Diaries
Between the years of 1957 and 1974 "Willows" schoolteacher Frank Mason, known affectionately as "Pop" amongst his pupils, introduced a generation of Marple children to the delights of rambling in the nearby Peak District and further afield in the Lake District, Scotland and Wales during annual Whitsun holidays over a period of 17 years.
Throughout much of this time Frank kept meticulous records of the names of those participating in the walks and holidays and completed well-written and often amusing reports of their escapades in a series of exercise books. Some of the records in the early days and also in latter years are brief and to the point but the recollections at the heart of Frank's diaries give a fascinating insight into the differences between those more carefree times and the present day. Certainly many of the adventures sound rather too hazardous to be undertaken in today's health and safety conscious times but with the end of the war still a recent memory for many, including Frank, how dangerous could it be to go for a walk in the hills!
Initially only written records were kept but by 1959 Frank was using his camera to record the walks and holidays instead of keeping a diary. This was a decision he later came to regret, as he noted in 1962 when recommencing his written reports. It is in the core period from 1962 to 1969, when Frank's diary keeping and photography were at their peak, that his records become a fascinating piece of social history.
It's hoped that everyone who visits this site will enjoy it for what it is. However, it will be of particular interest to the former pupils and teachers who took part in these adventures and may not have known about the existence of the photographs and diaries until now, some 50 years after they were begun.
We've chosen a format that allows the visitor to search for their own names, their friends or perhaps their parents amongst the recorded participants. For this reason the web site includes the full and complete records found and most of the photographs taken during the walks and holidays; we did not feel it was our role to edit out even the smallest detail from the reports or omit anyone's involvement, however minor it might seem to us.
We hope that visitors to this site who did participate in the Willows Walks and Holidays during their schooldays will get in touch and share their memories with us and we would be delighted to add your thoughts and recollections, or any photographs you may have from these times to this site.