Love of the outdoors has Henry heading for the hills

Love of the outdoors has Henry heading for the hills

By Adele Forrest | 06/01/2021

Love of the outdoors has Henry heading for the hills


A WALKER has reached the summit of a hill on the site of an iron age fort for the 500th time over a 42-year period — including 200 times this year.

Lockdown restrictions spurred keen walker Henry Marston (74) on to achieve the milestone — which has now seen him enter the ‘poly bagging’ hall of fame.

This year, Henry has been completing the challenge twice weekly in the hour-and-a-half his wife is being looked after by carers — sometimes reaching the summit four times in one outing.

The hill in Canklow Woods, which Henry began climbing in 1978, has an ascent of over 30 metres.

On December 9, the former British Steel laboratory worker marked his 500th recorded climb — but said there had been countless other visits to it with family over the years.

He said: “Rotherham’s Canklow Wood is listed as a ‘tump’ — a hill with a prominence of at least 30 metres.

“It’s a 90-metre climb from the River Rother, from the west or north, but the ascent from Broom Lane is a little over 30m.

“The actual summit is not well defined, as it’s quite flat, but is in the area of a derelict iron age fort just south of the Lawton Lane entrance.

“Over the years between 1978 and 2019, I had recorded 311 visits to the Canklow Wood summit, either on runs recorded by GPS or in runs for the former Swinden Labs Jogging League.”

After recording his 500th summit at the start of the month, he entered The Relative Hills Society’s poly-bagging hall of fame — and received a badge for the achievement.

Poly-bagging is recording multiple ascents of the same hill.

Rotherham Harrier Henry continued the feat throughout December, clocking up 200 visits to the summit this year alone.

“The way I am doing it now is sort of jogging or hobbling in my advanced years,” said Henry, of Broom Road.

“I have been mainly doing it on my own because I am not running as fast as people in Rotherham Harriers now.

“Sometimes I take my wife Pat up there.”

The grandfather said he had been inspired to take on the challenge due to the pandemic which meant he had to be “inventive” with his outdoor exercise.

“I have been able to run and orienteer in these restricted times but my other passion of hill-walking has been restricted,” he said.

“In particular, I travel around the country ‘hill bagging’, that is climbing hills on particular lists, largely curtailed in these difficult times

“Under present pandemic conditions, climbing different hills has become restricted. So someone had the idea of recording multiple ascents of the same listed hill.”

Henry enjoyed the challenge of tackling the same hill and said it had given him something to aim for.