South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Graham Hill

Profile: Graham Hill - (Nov/Dec 2006)

Do you remember the day they executed G.I. Eddie Slovic for desertion? No perhaps you'll remember the day G. H. Stancer retired as Secretary of the CTC? Well I do, they went out the day we came in; we being yours truly and younger (twin) brother Malcolm. Our 15 pounds 4 ounces (a record then for Kingston Hospital) was why Mum couldn't wait just 10 minutes to give Dad a birthday present to remember.

Granddad ran a cycle/car repair business in Westbury, Wilts. In the 1940s, I don't recall much stock or customers, but I was fascinated by his accounts. Only later did I learn that these were works of fiction. In my early teens this shop (then run by an uncle) was the source of my first bicycle, a black/yellow BSA with Benelux gears. Used mainly for trips to school and friends, we did go further afield but our enthusiasm was tempered greatly by Pebblecombe, Whitedown, etc. We hostelled - a saddlebag and a musette made from a deckchair cover holding my belongings. Rock climbing was popular, cheap and a lot less effort but local outcrops like Stone Farm or Harrison's meant a double dose of Wray Lane.

In 1963 George Best and I made our Man U debuts. Not the same one naturally; mine (the University) was older and in its glory days featured Rutherford, Chadwick, and Geiger. Having a twin means sharing so my only bicycle left at his girlfriend's house disappeared. I found easier ways to travel needing only thumb movements. Trips resulted to Turkey, Morocco and the lumpier parts of Britain. To climbing I added walking and the Pennine Way, Offa's Dyke, Lyke Wake, Three Peaks and others were overcome. Only once did I fail (temporarily) - the South Downs Way where my companion thought a bin liner would do nicely as rainwear!

By the early 70s I was the owner of a new bicycle, a Dawes. Public transport was unreliable and I worked in Victoria. British Rail's decision to abolish charges sparked my first long tour. I chose Scotland as my sister lived there. It rained every day but something clicked. My Wester Ross is a legacy of that trip and I've returned over twenty times. But I've toured elsewhere: the Alps, Pyrenees, Ireland and much of Britain.

In 2001 I gave up work after 35 years in computing and headed across America. I rather enjoyed it until run down (dislocated shoulder) in the Nevada desert, five days short of completing a Coast to Coast. Amazingly I had a witness; two months later I received an unexpected police report blaming the other driver and felt inspired to fly back and finish the ride - so three months later I finished it. Since 2002 I've wardened in (YHA, SYHA and independent hostels) and 2006 saw me in Raasay, Hindhead, Clun and Rogart. In 2005 I finished my third End to End (via the Scottish Islands) with C&M member, Irene North; one of us rode every hill.

Currently I amuse myself as C&M Secretary, using a PC to maintain the attendance records and the Section's tea stops list, and I'm helping to get the new CTC Routes website up and running.