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Joining the SMC

The SMC is a private club open to anyone who fulfills the (relatively) modest entrance requirements. Perhaps the most difficult of these is the commitment asked towards climbing in Scotland; obviously any experienced and competent mountaineer able to climb over a certain technical grade on rock or ice could pass that test, but would he or she be willing to have walked over and up a good number of Munros, summer and winter? Would he or she have climbed in Scotland for a reasonable length of time? If not, why would they want to join?

The membership requirements can be obtained by your proposer from the Secretary, but roughly speaking they require an ability to lead at least to a good Severe grade in summer, and at least to Grade IV in winter. You should have done at least 40-50 Munros, many in winter. You need a club member to propose you, and three club members to second your application. And your climbing, unless backed up by some other criterion, should be of recent vintage!

One traditional route for entering the SMC is by way of one of the JMCS Clubs. These have a refreshingly informal way of going about things and indeed many climbers remain with the JMCS. At present the Glasgow, Edinburgh and London branches are on the Web, with other branches based in Fort William, and Perth.

The SMC currently has about 450 members. This is small compared to some of the large clubs in England and elsewhere, though large for Scotland. The average age has probably been dropping slowly over the decades, which is no bad thing, though the SMC has still to fully shake off its image of a group of old grumpy curmudgeons.

In fact, only a small percentage of us are grumpy old curmudgeons, and that's probably because their arthritis prevents them from getting on the hill more often!

The SMC welcome applications from women to join the club. Our entrance requirements do not discriminate between the sexes and hopefully the number of women amongst our membership will increase (currently it is in double figures).

As regards activities, it is helpful to have a friendly member at hand. There are a dozen or so club meets each year, including six weekends on Ben Nevis, which a member could take you on as a guest. This way you get to check out the club while they check out you! Slide evenings are also scheduled, midweek in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, where probably the majority of members live.

There are various meets throughout the year, usually based at our club huts and accessible through a member.

Our Annual Dinner and AGM is the only whole Club event, and takes place, according to long-standing tradition, on the first Saturday in December. In recent years, we have made the bold step of holding this at some Highland hotel, rather than in a centrally placed urban setting. It's worked very well we think, allowing the energetic members and their guests to enjoy the dubious weather at that time of the year on the Saturday and Sunday. In recent years it has been held at Fort William, Strathpeffer and Pitlochry.

If you do join the SMC, for a very modest annual subscription you receive a free Journal and free Hut beds. Stay two weekends in an SMC Hut and you are in profit! It helps your conscience however if you support the Journal and/or roll up your sleeves on a hut work party. The level of input is entirely up to you.

Basically then, it's probably fair to say that the SMC is for the committed mountaineer active in Scotland. In recent years many of Scotland's most active climbers have become members, and the Club and Scottish Mountaineering is all the richer for it. We welcome them all.


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