John is a former director of Brockhole Outdoor Centre, Brockhole, fell runner, author on Lake District subjects and activity holiday leader.
John was born in North Yorkshire in 1928, and went to a grammar school in Carlisle, before going on to study at Durham university after doing his national service.
One of John's first experience’s of the Lake District fells was climbing Scafell Pike in 1943, after which he became a keen fell walker and runner, taking part in the 1st Lake District Mountain Trial when it started up in 1952. In 1969, he got what he describes as his dream job at the National Park Visitor's centre.
John has seen first-hand the increase in leisure and tourism in the Lakes since the war, and talks about changes in the landscape brought on by the increasing range of activities now available. These changes have led to erosion, for example, the scree that used to be popular with scree-runners has been lost through over use. The footpaths have also suffered wear and tear with the increasing numbers of people visiting, walking, and using vehicles on the Fells.
John remembers the birds that have increased over the years as well as those that have decreased in number.
“I think experience on the summit is really very much the same, I think the thing that has changed that always strikes me now when I go on the fells, is the sort of wear and tear on the footpaths... and above all the numbers on the fells, you go on any popular fell now, it's really busy, you can’t avoid seeing quite a lot of people; not that I object to it anyway but it’s so different, because I remember the very first time I went, I can’t remember seeing a soul all day, well you felt you were absolutely alone up there, and it was quite a special experience.”