Gordon Davison, right, with Peter Lockey and Chris Bonington in a mid-1980s Berghaus photoshoot

Gordon Davison, right, with Peter Lockey and Chris Bonington in a mid-1980s Berghaus photoshoot

The co-founder of the Berghaus brand of outdoor gear has died.

Gordon Davison had suffered a heart attack and passed away surrounded by his family on the evening of 24 June, aged 85.

A spokesperson for Mr Davison’s family said: “Despite the seriousness of his condition, [he] displayed a sense of humour and positivity, right to the end.”

A keen mountaineer, and engineer by trade, Mr Davison teamed up in 1966 with friend and entrepreneur Peter Lockey to open up north-east England’s first specialist retail shop, LD Mountain Centre, in Newcastle upon Tyne, using the pair’s surname initials.

He began developing products to sell in the Tyneside store and other outdoor shops and branded them Berghaus, to distance them from the pair’s store and retailers’ reluctance to buy a rival’s gear.

Davison and Lockey chose the German brand name, which means mountain house, as it had a reference to their shop and also traded on what was, at the time, Germany’s reputation for creating quality equipment.

Those first Berghaus-branded products, designed and developed by Gordon Davison, began to appear in outdoor stores in the early 1970s. Among innovative products were the Cyclops internal-framed back system for large rucksacks that revolutionised load carrying; the earliest waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex jackets to reach the market; and the Yeti gaiter, which is still used on expeditions around the world today. The distinctive rubber rand used in the production of the Yeti gaiter was initially made from old tractor tyre inner tubes, making it an early example of a recycled outdoor performance product.

The success of some of these early products allowed Davison and Lockey to continue developing further pioneering outdoor gear during the 1980s, such as the specialist climbing and mountaineering Berghaus Extrem range, introduced in 1986. The first Extrem collection included the Trango jacket, which like the Cyclops and Yeti before it, became an established lead product in its sector.

By then, the business had grown into a successful international outdoor brand, and was working with many of the world’s great climbers and adventurers. Berghaus was presented with the Queen’s Award for Export in 1988 and was then operating out of multiple sites in the North-East, with manufacturing and warehousing bases in Washington, as well as a head office above LD Mountain Centre in Newcastle city centre, which continues to trade as a successful specialist outdoor retailer to this day, with Gordon’s son Peter Davison as a director.

Gordon Davison and Peter Lockey sold Berghaus to the Pentland Group in the early 1990s, and both continued to be very active in the outdoors.

The two men employed more than 500 people in their factory in Washington, and probably many thousands of people over the years, with many in the outdoor and sports industry who would testify to the inspirational role Davison played in their lives.

The Davison family said it recognises that Gordon had a positive impact on the lives of many, and that their grief will be shared by many others but asked that their privacy is respected during their time of mourning. Anyone who wishes to pass on condolences can do so via email or by post to: Peter and Susie Davison, c/o Karol Marketing, The Old Pub, East Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1LR.

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