On the behalf of your committee, I would like to start this report with a whopping thanks for being part of, and supporting the club. I am sure you will agree with me when I say it has been a year of immense sorrow, but also a year worth celebrating and recognising the achievements and comradery of the club.
As of early November, we have fifty-four members, four more than this time last year. The impact of Covid has undoubtedly impacted our numbers, although over the last few months we have seen a spurt in enquiries and new memberships, as well as the return of some past-members, eager to return to the mountains with us. It is your warmth and support which has seen our numbers stay healthy.
Since December last year, the club has had 12 official trips, with all but August being considered full, or almost full.
December had ten people, with two late cancellations, due to covid, staying in Heathy Lea, near Baslow for our annual Christmas meet. A highlight of this trip for me was when all participants spent the day together as one, walking a nice route organised by Gill.
January was our annual Burns meet, this year returning to Deiniolen, Eryri, where the chair traditionally addresses the haggis, or in the event of a forfeit, spends hours whipping the cream with a fork. As tradition stands, this meet was full and jolly. Book early for January 2024.
February’s meet was at a very wet Agnes Spencer Hut, Patterdale. While the hope was for some snowy conditions, it turned into a water-sports event, where participants engaged in up-hill puddle climbing and down-hill water/mud sliding events.
In March, our meet returned to Cymru, this time to the Bryn Hafod in Eryri. Again, the meet was full and of note on this trip was the superb attention to detail, care and patience Mr Walmsley and team paid to the face of Will o’ the Wisp. If only they paid attention to their watches!
In April, the A5 again took us to Eryri, specifically the foot of Tryfan where we stayed at the magnificent Caseg Fraith. Fully booked up, members enjoyed the climbing, running, scrambling and walking over a weekend of wind on Saturday and perfect conditions on Sunday.
May was a weekend of climbing fun based at Hardhurst Farm’s luscious green campsite. I didn’t join in on this one, and reading through the trip report so I could give a brief summary here, I became lost in all the acronyms connected with the discourse of trad-climbing. I assume all went well. I noticed they had wonderful weather, but I have no idea what “Bishop’s Route (S 4a)” means!
June was another camping meet, this time organized by Neal in the Wye Valley. Lots of multi-pitching and rambling was enjoyed in perfect conditions.
July was our absolutely awesome international meet, organised by Stacey who heroically allowed members to intrude upon his family summer sojourn in the Dolomites. For this, we thank him, and on behalf of all attending members, we apologise to Frances and Meredith for the excessive smells, snores and silliness we inflicted upon your family during this trip.
August appears to be a month where members decided to spend time with families and away from the club. There were two meets, one at Caseg Fraith, Eryri with five attendees, and one in Chamonix, with one attendee. Both trips were absolutely awesome; I can say that with assurances that not many people are in a position to disagree.
September. This month was not awesome. It was tragically sad. We lost Alan. I do not need to remind anyone of his value to the club. His wry humour, triumphant grin, and accordion gaze will forever be missed and, as a club, we will always remember him. He will be honoured with a memorial meet, and our Mountaineer’s Award will be renamed to be the Alan Montford Memorial Shield.
October saw another full hut, plus quite a few campers join us in the Peak District. Climbers climbed, and walkers walked in awesome conditions on the Saturday, and we all huddled in a cafe to escape the rain on Sunday morning. Some then went climbing indoors, while others were rewarded for their patience and faith in the weather with a perfect Sunday afternoon walk.
November saw sixteen members head to the Wayfarer’s Robertson Lamb Hut, Langdale for the annual Kendal Film meet, plus some fell-walking. Of note on this meet was Laurence’s intellectual capacity to use all seven letters in one mountain related scrabble word placement. What the word was is un-documented, but I can only suspect with a touch of jealousy that it was a Welsh word!
So, we’ve had fifty-two distinct people join us on meets over the year, made up of forty-four paid-up members and eight non-members or family related guests. This statistic alone is pleasing and provides assurance that we are providing value for membership.
Gill, Stacey and Tom take the prize for most meets, sharing a total of nine each. While no official award is offered for this achievement, I propose a hearty round of applause and kudos for their persistence and commitment to the club.
I am also exceptionally pleased with the turn-out at the Thursday night climbing sessions and cake-o’clock meets. While I have no idea who actually attends these, as I rarely do, I am reliably informed that they are popular.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, has been the year that was, one of the saddest, yet also one of the greatest years of our club.
I thank you for allowing me to be your chair for the last three years, and a member of the committee for …what seems to be a long time. It’s fun, easy, rewarding and exhausting, especially when trying to add fell-running to a tagline. I’ll be taking a little rest from the committee over the next few years, but will continue to be an active member of the club, and look forward to seeing you all in the hills and mountains soon.
Finally, I would like to thank Alan, Gill and Peter, my fellow committee members, for all the support they have offered and commitment they have given to the club. I wish them, and the incoming committee members all the best.