On the hill with…our new President

Welcome to “On the hill with…” a series of short interviews with members of the Rucksack Club, appearing over the coming years on the Website!

Who better to start this series with than our new President, Dave Woolley, installed at the AGM, January 2019…thanks Dave for taking the time to talk to us.

A younger Dave Wooley on the Etive Slabs

How did you get into walking and climbing?

For me it was through my mum and dad, but mainly my dad. He had joined in 1957 (aged 27) so from a very early age I was introduced to mountain environments first walking and in my teenage years climbing.


Who has had the most influence on your mountain experiences?

Initially my dad, later a number of Rucksack Club members – people like John Richardson, Rob Ferguson and Andy Llewellyn.


What was your last great day out in the ‘hills’?

The Marsden to Edale is a regular Rucksack Club classic – so doing the double earlier this year was great (partly because the weather was so kind to us for once) but mainly catching up with all the members, associate members and guests. The post match refreshments were particularly good!


What does the perfect ‘hill’ day consist of?

It can be many things as I enjoy walking, climbing and other outdoor activities.

I love being in remote mountain areas, taking in the views, doing a great climb, with good friends – what more could you want?


What’s been your worst mishap in the ‘hills’?

I’m not sure it was “my worst” mishap but I remember being on a Greenland trip in 1990 with some Rucksack Club members – I put my glove down on the snow (not the best idea!) just as a storm was starting to blow up – it blew across the ice cap – I remember Rob Ferguson tried to chase it – but it was gone. The temperatures dropped and we had another few weeks of the trip. It wasn’t great!


What’s been your best ever ‘hill’ day?

“Best ever” is a tough one as I feel I have been lucky enough to have so many really amazing days out. The East Greenland expedition in 1990 was incredible because we did so many first ascents – and standing on the summit of some of those peaks with brilliant friends looking across the Greenland ice cap has got to be right up there.


What is your dream ‘hill’ objective?

Climbing a really remote mountain in North America.


What makes a great ‘hill’ partner? Has anyone come close?

Having a good sense of humour and easy to rub along with – being very competent and dependable when the chips are down! Rob Ferguson and Andy Llewellyn.


With a busy professional and family life, how do you manage to keep active in the hills?

I think its quite tough sometimes especially if you have a demanding full time job.

You have to balance out the hill activities with other commitments. Try not to take work too seriously. Make sure you get out as much as you can and do what you enjoy doing – even when the weather is poor. We got washed out last weekend at High Moss but I think we still all enjoyed ourselves.


What future ‘hill’ plans do you have?

Plenty – in the UK tick off more Munros, do some classic Rucksack Club longer walks, do some classic climbs. Overseas there are so many amazing mountain areas I’d like to go and climb in. Note to diary – retire ASAP!

Dave [in the middle!] on first ascent summit [approx 6000m] in the Nubra region – 2013
How did you come to join the Rucksack Club?

My dad introduced me to the club from a very early age so I guess it was always part of my life. I was very clear I wanted to join from an early age – I joined in 1983 when I was 20.

 What have been the benefits of membership?

So many but to name a few – having access to a network of amazingly experienced and friendly people; getting involved with a superb outdoor and indoor programme; using the huts which provide a great base to enjoy all the outdoor activities. So many happy memories.


Keith Towell hands on the reins to Dave Woolley at the AGM Jan 2019…

…and appropriately the next “On the hill with…” will be with Keith Towell in about 2 weeks time

January 2019

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