Adventurers recall 1960s Everest trek

John Driskell and David Peckett, who went on trek from Europe to Mount Everest in the 1960s and repeated the feat in 2010.
John Driskell and David Peckett, who went on trek from Europe to Mount Everest in the 1960s and repeated the feat in 2010.
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THEY met at teacher training college in Sheffield in the 1960s - then embarked on an epic trip from South Yorkshire to the foot of Mount Everest...

Now, nearly 50 years on, David Peckett and John Driskell are teaming up again - as guest speakers at a fundraising dinner next month.

David, now 70, and John, 68, were two of five graduates who resolved to save a quarter of their salaries every month for three years to fund an adventure across the world.

The cost of £300 each funded a Land Rover, petrol, food and all the travel expenses for the group - which also included Les Simms, Pam Archer and Johnny Rudd.

Their adventure took them from a farm just outside Barnsley, where David lived, to Everest base camp.

“We went through the Iron Curtain, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal and the poverty was mind-boggling,” said John, from Beauchief, who later taught at Norton Free School, was headteacher of Crookes Endowed School, and head at Hazlebarrow Primary.

“We experienced living in the Middle Ages - but it was a thrill from start to finish.”

David, from Wath, went on to teach at Jordanthorpe Boys’ Secondary, Springvale Middle School in Grimethorpe, and was head at Oxspring and Mapplewell primaries before working an an inspector.

In 2010, David and John joined Les and their wives to revisit the final 300-mile return trek of 1967/68.

Afterwards John and David published Everest The Old Way, a book using their original diaries with a foreword added by mountain climber Sir Chris Bonnington.

The diaries record in detail the villages they experienced, and the trekking they endured without electricity, toilets, or running water. Though their arrival at Everest was marred by altitude sickness, it was something none of the party would forget. As John noted in his diary: “We felt thoroughly exhausted but, nonetheless, sat there spellbound.”

n The pair are guest speakers at Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club on May 9 at The Holiday Inn, Barnsley. Tickets are £10 - call 0114 283 0827. They will address Sheffield’s Off The Shelf festival in autumn.