Fond Memories

While trawling the internet I was delighted to see the continued existence of the Gentian Club.

In the early seventies I had just left school in Jersey and like many young islanders I was yearning for the experience of large open spaces. Joining the YHA was a natural choice at the time and George Watkins was leading alpine mountaineering holidays for its members. By chance and with little experience I found myself on one of his trips to the Stubai Alps in Austria. Needless to say George and my fellow participants made the occasion unforgettable and he taught me my early ropes on snow and ice. George was quick to realise after such trips that some of his companions who were living all over the country wanted to remain in contact with each other and continue their walking activities. So the Gentian Club was born from his inspiration.

George subsequently came over to Jersey with the Stroud Ramblers and he even found time on his rest day to take me rock climbing on the local cliffs. By this time I was hooked and shortly afterwards I moved to London where I continued to participate when possible with the weekend activities of the Stroud Ramblers and I soon joined a London rock climbing club. For over three decades my leisure time was devoted to mountaineering activities in the UK and abroad with lifelong friendships being gathered along the way.

George and Alie dedicated an enormous amount of time to organising walking activities and I remember at the time of its formation the Gentian Club was his special baby. So forty years on I would like to say to you all bravo and keep the spirit going forward.

Best wishes

Colin Vibert

Ile de Bréhat, France

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