KMC Bob Anderson Memorial Walk 10 July 2014

By Chris Thickett

Approaching 10:30 on the morning of Thursday 10 August 2014, ten members of the Club set off from Raw Head to pay last respects to our friend Bob Anderson.

Bob’s wife, Elaine, had asked me to dispose of some of his ashes on a suitable hill in the Lakes or Snowdonia.  The Lakes seemed most appropriate as we had mostly enjoyed this area during the last few years.  But which hill?  The decision was easy when, sorting through a selection of the most recent photos, I came across a shot of himself on Pike O’Stickle looking altogether very happy and relaxed.  On several occasions recently he had tried to persuade me to accompany him on an ascent of Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark but I considered this to be too much of a liability with the then prevalent problem with his legs and balance.  So the day’s itinerary was set: first up Jack’s Rake and then on to Pike O’Stickle.  The only other arrangements were to fix a convenient date and to book some places in Raw Head for those wanting to stay over.

Jim, Sandy, Pete (Johnson), Graham, John, Midge, Iain, Keith, Phil and myself all assembled at the chosen location and on the chosen date.  Michelle and Mark as well as Les Meer of the FRCC sent apologies due to holidays.

The weather was gorgeous - we found ourselves in the middle of a heat wave.  Differences in fitness levels meant the sweaty ascent to Stickle Tarn was accomplished in varying times, with Midge having plenty of time for a dip before the stragglers arrived. Most then elected to climb the Rake in the pleasant conditions.  John climbed in Bob’s old boots, bequeathed from one set of large feet to another.  The ashes were carried in my rucksack.  We gathered at the top in the warm sunshine and relaxed for some time - Bob would have approved!  Then we walked direct over the moor to Pike O’Stickle to join the others.

A couple of weeks before, I had made a recce of the mountain top to consider the best way to dispose of the ashes.  As many people do not approve of the random scattering of ashes on hill tops for various reasons, I was mindful that our actions would not cause offence, damage or blemish.  So after consulting Elaine, I had decided to bury them in the rocks immediate below the summit cairn. 

I excavated a suitable depression in the rocks before pouring in the ashes.  Reinstating the rocks gave the impression that nothing had been disturbed.  I then gave a short address in honour of our good friend.  There was no rush to leave, so we soaked up the warm sunshine for about an hour enjoying the splendid aspects of the Pike.

When we did eventually move, it was down to the Stickle Barn to drink a toast to an absent friend and reminisce about the fine times we had shared with him. 

Finally, at home I reported to Elaine that the day had not been a solemn occasion but I trust it was respectful and dignified.  It was in fact very enjoyable way to remember a friend we had known for 35 years or so.  Bob would have approved, I am sure.

Chris at Stickle Tarn (Virginia Castick)
Pete Johnson on Jacks Rake (Virginia Castick)
Jim and Sandy on Jacks Rake (Virginia Castick)
Graham getting a head start (Virginia Castick)
Bobs boots (Virginia Castick)
John and Bobs boots topping out (Virginia Castick)
Chris enjoying a Bob joke (Virginia Castick)
Heading for Pike OStickle (Virginia Castick)
Goodbye Bob (Virginia Castick)
That deserves a pint (Virginia Castick)

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Karabiner Mountaineering Club