The Great Gift.
At the end of the The Great War the Fell and Rock Climbing Club wanted to erect some form
of memorial to their fallen members. Various schemes were considered before they decided
to try and buy a mountain, and then donate it to The National Trust. They put a bid in for
Pillar Rock, but were turned down. A similar attempt to buy Napes Needle was also
unsuccessful. They then entered into negotiations with the Musgrave Estate to buy Row
Head Farm at Wasdale Head, which included both Great Gable and Napes Needle. Again
they failed. Discussions started with the new owner, a Mr Herbert Walker of Seascale. Mr.
Walker, a climber himself, was sympathetic to their cause, and eventually, rather than just
Napes Needle, a sale of 3,000 acres was agreed. This included the summits of twelve
mountains, and all land over 1.500ft, with the exception of a corridor over Sty Head Pass -
plans to build a surfaced road were still afoot. Lord Leconfield had already transferred
ownership of Sca Fell to the National Trust, and when the Fell and Rock Club did likewise
the whole donation of this mountainous land at the heart of the Cumberland Fells became
known as The Great Gift. The whole of the 3,000 acres donated by the Fell and Rock
Climbing Club is considered their memorial, with the focus of a memorial plaque, unveiled in
June 1924, on the summit of Great Gable, where an annual Remembrance Day Service is
held (albeit brief given the usual prevailing weather!)
In 2013 It was decided to replace the plaque, as it had become worn following the
ravages of time in such an exposed location. The old plaque was removed in July 2013, and
a new one, to the same design, was cast and carried to the summit of Great Gable by the
Royal Engineers. It was in place in time for that year's Remembrance Day Service. The
original plaque is now located in St.Olaf’s churchyard in Wasdale Head, where it still
overlooks Great Gable.
There is no need to visit the summit of Great Gable to find the cache (although there are
worse ways of spending a day!) The Fell and Rock Climbing Club have produced a pamphlet
entitled ‘We Remember’, which gives details of both the history of the memorial, and brief
biographies of their members who are commemorated on the plaque. You need to download
a copy of the pamphlet from this link
and then answer the following questions.
A. The number of Military Crosses awarded to FRCC members
B. The number of FRCC members who ‘served the colours - 7B
C. The number of those Killed in action (KIA) - the number who Died from wounds (DW)
- the number who died from Gas (G) C = KIA - DW - G.
D. Of the 12 fells purchased by the FRCC, how many begin with the letter ‘B’
E. The FRCC offered £E0 to purchase Pillar Rock
F. He was mentioned in dispatches three times, was wounded three times and took
home leave on only three occasions. He was wounded on F October.
G. Including initials, how many letters in the name of the member who was initially
omitted from the original plaque. (The name B.H.Witty had been added in error.)
H. “The nearly silent throng of some H00 climbers, hill walkers and dales folk assembled
in the soft rain and rolling mist, ………” (Unveiling)
The cache will be found at N54 2A.BCD’ W03 1E.FGH’
Checksum is 44.
Now it is obviously possible to find this cache without visiting either the plaque in St. Olaf’s
churchyard, or the one on the summit of Great Gable. In my view that’s not really in the spirit
of the cache as I envisage it. If you choose to do that then please refrain from boasting about
it in your logs.
I will go back
I will go back to the hills again
That are sisters to the sea,
The bare hills, the brown hills
That stand eternally,
And their strength shall be my strength,
And their joy my joy shall be.
I will go back to the hills again,
To the hills I knew of old,
To the fells that bare the straight larch woods
To keep their farms from cold;
For I know that when the spring-time comes
The whin will be breaking gold.
There are no hills like the Wasdale hills
When spring comes up the dale,
Nor any woods like the larch woods
When primroses blow pale;
And the shadows flicker quiet-wise
On the stark ridge of Black Sail.
I have been up and down the world
To the Earth’s either end,
And left my heart in a field in France
Beside my truest friend;
And joy goes over, but love endures,
And the hills, unto the end.
I will go back to the hills again
When the day’s work is done,
And set my hands against the rocks
Warm with an April sun,
And see the night creep down the fells
And the stars climb one by one.
May Wedderburn Cannan November 1916
***** PLEASE NOTE IMPORTANT *****
CACHES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE PLACED ON ACTUAL MEMORIALS OR WITHIN THE BOUNDARY OF SUCH
AT ALL TIMES PLEASE TREAT LOCATIONS OF MEMORIALS WITH RESPECT