Entity Type:
Westmorland, Horace (1886-1984), Colonel, known as 'Rusty'
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 Crags’.

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 1915-1919, 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.
2007-01-18 00:00:00
M Willett
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Westmorland, Horace (1886-1984), Colonel, known as 'Rusty'
Related Items:
B177 : Adventures in Climbing