Clydesdale Mountaineering Club celebrates 50th anniversary

Scaling the peaks with club membersScaling the peaks with club members
Scaling the peaks with club members
A Clydesdale mountaineering club are celebrating a very special birthday this year.

The Upperward Mountaineering Club celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. The club, which draws its members from Lanark, Carluke and Biggar areas is one of the oldest mountaineering clubs in Lanarkshire.

To celebrate, members are replaying the Club's inaugural walk from the Grey Mare's Tail in Moffatdale to the Crook Inn in Tweedsmuir via Broadlaw.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And the Gazette is delighted it’s played its part right from the inception of the club and continues a long history with Upperward Mountaineering Club.

How much do you remember about the major events of 1974? What is your most vivid memory? The Miners’ Strike, Harold Wilson installed as Prime Minister, Abba winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo, McDonalds opening their first UK outlet or inflation running at 17.2%. For some, at a more local level, it was the founding of the Upperward Mountaineering Club.In February of that year a few likeminded individuals, who were already enjoying the challenge of walking and climbing in the Scottish hills, sought the advice of the Scottish Mountaineering Council with a view to forming a club in the Biggar/Lanark area.

With the guiding text of Edward Whymper “Climb if you will ...Look well to each step and, from the beginning, think what may be the end” foremost in mind, an article was placed in the Lanark Gazette inviting people interested in hillwalking to attend the inaugural walk.Twenty four people with great enthusiasm, and from all walks of life, gathered in an assortment of outdoor clothing which included Barbour jackets, orange cagoules and oilskins complete with sou’wester. Footwear ranged from tacketty boots and wellies to country brogues and stout shoes. Canvas rucksacks had the look of an Army & Navy Stores job lot and compasses were either those left over from the war or a two shilling bargain from one of the mail order firms.

The demands of the weather, rough tracks and physical exertion whittled down the initial group, leaving a core of fifteen members who were quickly to gain the expertise and experience that took them beyond the rolling border hills and onto the rugged mountains of North and Northwest Scotland. Many of this founding group were undoubtedly carried along with enthusiasm onto mountain ranges beyond their experience but, survive they did, and quickly left the lapwings and grouse on the lower slopes to scale summits shared with ravens and eagles.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So where to now for the Upperward Mountaineering Club now that its growing pains of the first 50 years are passed?

It is great to see the way the baton of experience and expertise has been passed down the decades to each new intake of members and it is one of the major strengths of the club that new, raw hillwalkers and climbers are given the level of confidence and enthusiasm necessary to go off to the hills on their own, to battle with their inner fears and find their own pinnacles in safety.

For these are the next baton carriers who will carry on the cycle and ensure that the club continues to thrive.Climb if you will…

Related topics: