The late Gordon Simm (1949-2012) was a semi-retired engineer, a long-distance walker and a keen photographer. He was born a “townee” in Blackburn, Lancs, the middle one of three boys, but always loved the countryside. In the early eighties he moved with his young family to live in rural North Yorkshire on the edge of the North Yorks Moors National Park.
An enthusiastic bird-watcher, Gordon’s interest in photography grew as he developed his skills in using a camera to record landscape and wildlife. His first venture into long-distance walking was on the Cleveland Way in 1989. Since leaving full-time work in 2003, he had completed several other National Trails and Recreational Paths, and had enjoyed many hill-walking trips, mainly in the Lake District and Scotland. In 2011 he completed the Tour of Mont Blanc. His Picasa albums indicate the scope and quality of his images.
Gordon’s photographs have been published in five previous Rucksack Readers, notably the Coast to Coast and Dales Way. In 2011 he won the title “Photographer of the Year” in a Panasonic Lumix competition and had his photos showcased at the Focus-on-Imaging 2011 event at the NEC. Hadrian’s Wall Path was his first book as co-author and principal photographer, and the Cleveland Way was his second and last.
On 21 July 2012 Gordon set off for an ambitious hike in the mountains while on holiday near Nerja, southern Spain. He was well equipped, very experienced and he knew the area well. However, he failed to return and despite a wide-ranging search lasting over two weeks in July, followed by a further search in September, no trace of him was found. It is assumed that a serious accident or medical emergency must have overtaken him, but officially he will be regarded as missing for up to seven years.
He will be sorely missed by OWPG members and by all those who enjoyed his superb photographs and his indomitable route descriptions. The Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild has posted a tribute here. For an account of the memorial service on the anniversary of his disappearance, follow this link.