Club News March 2016

Gwilym Morgan 1922 - 2015

Gwilym’s pleasure was simply going for a walk. As a young man he and his family used to go walking and Youth Hostelling. So, when Holywell Rambling Club was set up in 1956 it was only natural that he joined. He not only joined he became Secretary. This is a post he held for 40 years.

During his working life he walked at weekends, days off and holidays. He introduced the Club to Youth Hostels and arranged many weekends away.

In 1980 he took early retirement from his job as metallurgist. This provided an opportunity for him to walk more frequently and further afield.

This meant that he was often away in the UK or abroad. To begin with he travelled abroad in organised Groups  notably Ramblers Holidays. As time went on though he started to organise his own expeditions.

The “organisation” was simply purchasing a book or a map and then a booking a flight. When he arrived at the destination airport he would then book a taxi and ask the driver to take him to a hotel. This worked quite well with one notable exception.

He decided to visit Hong Kong. The enclave has as well as the Downtown area a very large countryside. Enough to keep him occupied for  four weeks.

The taxi driver did take him to a hotel and he duly checked in. It was only in the morning that he found the price. He paid more for that one night than for the rest of his holiday. He returned to Hong Kong, much wiser, for another four weeks a couple of years later.

He also widely explored Europe. Much of this in the company of the Daly family. This included a Circuit of Mont Blanc, a tour of Romania and Christmas in Poland.

The Club had by the 1990s started to organise holidays abroad. Gwilym always participated in these events and helped organise them. Because he was single he used to share with other Club members. Some of these were more successful than others but Gwilym never complained (at least not in public).

When the Twinning with Menden was set up Gwilym became an active member. He quickly became involved with the Menden Walking Group. Exchange visits were arranged which Gwilym organised.

He became great friends with Hans Kruse. Through this relationship other Club members, both Holywell and Menden, became involved.

As a result of his walking interests Gwilym became  a member of the John Muir Trust (JMT) and the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA).  The JMT is concerned with protecting wild areas in the UK. The MBA is active in maintaining and improving simple accommodation also in wild areas.

Gwilym had a wide range of interests outside walking. The more notable being the Holywell Literary Society, of which he was a founder member, Mold Chess Club and Halkyn Bowling Club.

The Literary Society “faded away” but he remained an active member of the Chess Club and Bowling Club until his health deteriorated and  he was unable to drive.

Balancing his various interests was always a challenge. Holidays and breaks were planned  so that he could be as active as possible in them all. So far as the Rambling Club was concerned this meant  he grouped his walks into a short period. Often leading three walks in a week.

Gwilym was never one to lead a walk from a book or leaflet. His walks were always planned from the map. This, with the excellent OS Mapping, has become much easier during the last 30 years. Gwilym though was able to plan walks from the old OS 1” maps. These did not have all the rights of way and the detail was also poor.

Despite this he was able to plan and lead walks all over. During the early hostelling weekends he would plan the walks from the map and lead them without a recce. We seldom got into any difficulty although some of the walks were a bit long. He had excellent map reading skills.

He also knew his way around North Wales. This meant that occasionally on walks Gwilym would be on a slightly different route to the leader. This was almost invariably easier to walk. This was particularly the case when the leader chose to go straight up the hill.

Having known him for so long I could go on for ever. I am sure that all the members will have their own memories of experiences in his company.

Ron Williams

March 2016


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