Reference Number:
GB 3075 RWE
Rusty Westmorland Collection
2 boxes
Creator Name 1:
Westmorland | Colonel Horace 'Rusty'
Biog/Admin History:
Horace 'Rusty' Westmorland was born in Penrith, Cumbria in 1886. He explored the Lake District fells with his family and his love of climbing began following an expedition to Helvellyn via Striding Edge. He climbed Pillar, unroped, at the age of 15 with his father and sister. His late teens were spent climbing with two cousins, with Westmorland making the first ascent of Chock Gully and Westmorland's Route on Dove Crag. Westmorland went on to climb with George and Ashley Abraham and was proposed by them to join the Fell and Rock Climbing Club.

In 1910, Westmorland visited the Alps for the first time, accompanied by the Abraham brothers. Their exploits are recorded in George Abraham's 'On Alpine Heights' and 'British Crag'.

In 1911, Westmorland went to Canada and was offered a position as a chainman with a mountain survey party. He also joined the Territorial Army and, following the outbreak of WWI, he was commissioned in the Canadian Royal Transport Company. Between 1915 to 1919, Westmorland served in France and Belgium. It was during this period that he acquired his nickname due to a visiting officer spotting rust on the equipment of one of the horses under Westmorland's care. He returned to Canada after the war, continuing to serve with the Canadian Army and undertaking climbing and skiing whenever possible as a member of the Alpine Club of Canada.

The onset of WWII saw a change in regulations concerning age meaning Westmorland was unable to serve overseas. He went to the Rocky Mountains and established a section ready to assist in mountain warfare. Following a serious operation in 1944, Westmorland was invalided out of the Canadian Army. He moved back to the Lake District and lived in Keswick.

In 1946, Rusty Westmorland went to the aid of Wilfred Noyce, who had fractured his femur whilst out on Great Gable. This event led to Rusty forming the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team and becoming its first President. He was eventually awarded the OBE for his services to mountain rescue.

In 1950, Rusty served as President of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club and as President of the LD Ski club.

The next thirty years saw Westmorland continuing to walk, climb and ski. He published 'Adventures in Climbing' (1964).

Westmorland died aged 98 on 24th November 1984. A particular view from Great Gable, thought to be the finest, was marked by building a cairn, now known as Westmorland Cairn which is where Rusty's ashes were placed.
Archival History:
Given to donor by Rusty Westmorland.
Acquisition Source:
Donated by Alan Hankinson
Accession Number:
Scope and Content:
Promotional images for Canadian National Railways; Alpine scenes including skiing, climbing in the Lake District, Swiss mountain scenes and some depicting fishing.
Original order maintained.
Access Conditions:
This collection is open for consultation. Readers are advised to contact the Mountain Heritage Trust in advance of their visit in order to make an appointment.
Physical Description:
Glass slides
Finding Aids:
Description compiled by Maxine Willett
Access Points:
Canadian National Railways
Rock climbing
Westmorland, Horace (1886-1984), Colonel, known as 'Rusty'
2007-01-31 00:00:00
M Willett