The history of the Burnmoor Lodge Club
The Burnmoor Lodge Club was born in 2012 from a long tradition going back to 1954, when Dr John Foote started to rent Burnmoor Lodge. He used it both for family holidays and for youth work. He was the leader of a youth group for teenage lads at St Paul's Church in Hyson Green, Nottingham. The youth group was affiliated to a national Christian youth organisation called the Covenanter Union – the name referred to the Bible, to the Old and New Testaments, or Covenants, and had nothing to do with the Scottish Covenanters of the 17th Century. John took members of the St Paul's Covenanters to Burnmoor for holidays, and also organised national Covenanter houseparties there. The teenagers who went on these holidays spent the days in hill walking, rock climbing, and swimming (and using a rubber dinghy), and the evenings included exploration of Christian themes. Many Covenanters from those days kept in touch with John in later years and attended his funeral in Sheffield in 2009.
John ceased active involvement with Burnmoor Lodge in the 1980s, and passed the ownership (he had bought the Lodge in 1960) to his son Jonathan in 1988. Various Covenanters, relatives and friends continued to use Burnmoor Lodge, and Jonathan managed and maintained it for the next twenty years or so. He had a great deal of help from some key people, notably Malcolm Nixon, a Quantity Surveyor based in Ilkley, and Andy Best with his Nottingham-based Venture Scout group and builder friend Jim Crane, plus various Burnmoor regulars. The efforts of all these people and more kept the Lodge in reasonable repair, but Jonathan had concerns about lack of insurance cover, particularly when volunteers were doing major building work, and about the level of use of the building and its future.
In 2011, an idea came to mind. Other similarly remote buildings were in use as mountaineering club huts. Would setting up a mountaineering club and affiliating to the BMC (British Mountaineering Club) give access to suitable insurance products and advice on legal requirements? A look at the BMC's website suggested the idea was worth pursuing. Jonathan began to sound out some of the regular Burnmoor Lodge users, and they generally seemed positive. In November 2011 an Open Meeting was held in Nottingham. Over 40 people attended and unanimously supported the setting up of a club. Some people expressed a little disquiet at the thought of it being a mountaineering club, as not all Burnmoor Lodge users consider themselves to be mountaineers, but they appeared to accept the argument that just getting to the Lodge meant they more or less counted, and that it was worth affiliating to the BMC for the benefits that would bring; and many of the prospective members do consider themselves to be hill walkers, rock climbers, winter climbers and mountaineers.
A Steering Group was set up, a Constitution written, an interim committee formed, a bank account opened, and the Burnmoor Lodge Club came into existence at the start of April 2012. Local taxation was transferred from Council Tax to Non-domestic Rates, and the BLC became affiliated to the BMC at the start of July 2012. By the AGM in November 2012, over 40 people had signed up as members of the BLC.
Since then, we have set the Club up as a company limited by guarantee and Burnmoor Lodge is now leased from the owner by the Club (at a peppercorn rent). The Club is a not-for-profit organisation run for the benefit of members and the wider public. Much progress has been made with repairs and improvements over the last six years, with a great deal of help and advice from John Noake, a local "retired" builder and longstanding member of Wasdale Mountain Rescue. John has done Gas Safe work to convert from butane to propane (stored outside), lent us scaffolding, patiently worked with inexpert assistance from volunteers, nearly all of whom have been club members, and greatly improved the Lodge roof and rainwater goods. This year's project (2019) is to completely re-roof the outhouse. Various other repairs and improvements have been tackled, including making the kitchen larger by removing the larder partition wall. Further improvements are in the pipeline.