SMC Journal

The SMC Journal has maintained a continuous record of mountain activities in Scotland since 1890. The Journal emerges annually and may be found in any good quality climbing & walking shop, and the larger bookshops. For members of Mountaineering Scotland affiliated clubs, copies can be purchased at a discount through your club's Secretary.

If you live too far from a stockist, you can set up a subscription from our Distribution Manager, or purchase it from our distributor Cordee.

If you are interested in picking up an older edition of the Journal please contact our Journal Archivist.

Editor

The current Editor is Peter Biggar, whose first issue was in 2015.

For contact details of the various people involved with the editing, production, distribution, and archiving of the SMC Journal, please see Journal Contacts.

Contribute

The Editor welcomes material from both members and non-members, with priority being given to articles of Scottish Mountaineering content. Some simple notes about 'House Style' are available from the Editor.

Material for the Journal should be submitted before the end of January for consideration for the following issue.

Articles - Prose and Verse

All submitted articles (conforming to the rules) are considered for The W.H. Murray Literary Prize. If you wish your article to be excluded from consideration for the Prize please state this clearly when making your submission.

Material is preferred in electronic form and should be sent by email direct to the Editor. Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format is preferred but most file formats are acceptable.

Photos relating to an article should also be sent to the Editor (please read our photo guidelines).

Photographs

Photographs not related to articles are also welcome, preferably digital (please read our photo guidelines). You can also send old photos and slides. They will be scanned and returned as soon as possible. These should be sent to the Journal Photo Editor.

Early Journals

The earliest Scottish Moutaineering Club Journals, 1890 - 1901 (issues 1 to 36), are avaiable to view on the SMCJ pages of the the Glasgow Digital Library. Internet Archive also hold further Journals up to Volume XII but, unfortunately, missing Volume XI):

Early Indexes

A Brief History of the Journal

The SMC was founded in 1889. One of its founders, Joseph Gibson Stott, argued for the presence of a Club Journal, in which information about the Scottish hills could be conveniently recorded and circulated. It seems amazing now, well over a century later, that Stott had a hard time convincing a pilot meeting of its viability and even desirability.

The arguments against were mainly that Scotland was too small to be able to provide more than a few numbers of the Journal, while Stott maintained (for the first time he believed) that there were at least 300 mountains in Scotland whose height exceeded 3,000 feet. Luckily for us, Stott won the day and became its first Editor.

Of interest to readers may be the fact that in those far-off days before word processing on fast computers, the Journal was published three times a year, in January, May and September. This continued until 1918, when the harsh economies of the First World War imposed a reduction to two issues per year. From 1942 onwards, the Journal was published annually.

Stott emigrated to New Zealand, having published seven numbers, the task being taken over by William Douglas in 1892. A lover of the hills, and equally sympathetic to walkers and mountaineers, Douglas (after whom the Douglas Boulder on Ben Nevis is named) continued as Editor for nearly 18 years, producing 53 issues. It was during his reign that the Axes and Rope logo of the Club first appeared on the cover of the Journal, in January 1898.

One very important project carried out by Douglas was the publication, in the Journal, of the first SMC Guide Book. This ran from 1901 to 1907 and was the precursor of the now familiar and popular series of separately published SMC Guides. Douglas handed over the Journal to Frank Sidney Goggs who began in 1910 and maintained its publication through the difficult war years before retiring in 1920. Douglas had passed on to Goggs the early embargoes on both foreign articles and poetry, restrictions which have long been lifted, though the Journal continues to emphasise both its Scottish content and its insistence on a high standard of mountain poetry.

To help promote writing on Scottish Mountaineering, and as a fitting memorial to W.H. Murray, in 1998 we began the W.H. Murray Literary Prize.