With more than 90 members, Stirling University Mountaineering Club is one of the largest sports teams on campus.
Despite not being the most competitive club at Stirling, mountaineering have still had a lot to shout about this semester, with a host of events on the calendar.
The club sent a team of climbers down to the national BUCS event in Sheffield in February, which was a great experience for the Stirling group, who gained competitive experience among some top climbers.
Mountaineering president Mairi Jones said: “There are some really strong individuals down in Sheffield, but one of our main focuses for next year is to develop a stronger climbing team.”
The club trains twice a week at the Peak’s climbing wall, and often do some casual hill-walking at the weekend.
However, because the facilities at the Peak are not of the highest quality, the club take semi-regular trips through to Edinburgh or Glasgow, where there are some more advanced climbing complexes.
The club is both inclusive and social, organising several trips a semester to new places.
In addition, Jones said: “We usually take mid-semester trips to Glencoe, and we will take a week-long trip at Christmas, in the Cairngorms or somewhere similar with professional guiding.”
Jones is delighted with the support they have received from the Sports Union this year. She said: “The Sports President Caitlin has been brilliant, and worked for exactly what we needed.”
The club host a fundraising ceilidh each semester, with the next one taking place at Riverside Indoor Bowling Club on May 3. They also produce a naked calendar each year, which raises a lot of money for the club.
Although most of the money raised goes to the mountaineering club, they also donate to the Ochil Mountain rescue team, an area which members visit regularly.
Jones spoke of her time in the president role as rewarding. Her favourite part of leading the club this year has been watching members build confidence in their own abilities.
She said: “When people start in first year, a lot of them are new to hillwalking. After being with the club for a number of years, they take it more seriously and become more responsible on some of our tougher climbs.”
Mountaineering can be a dangerous sport, so it is important that the team’s members work together on their excursions to ensure everyone is safe.
Every October, members take part in ‘Smart Weekend’, an event organised by Mountaineering Scotland which gives members of all abilities the chance to develop their climbing and navigational skill set.
When exams finish, the club will head to Arran to wild-camp and do some hill-walking for a few days. This will be the last chance for the club to spend time together and unwind before summer.
Although Jones decided not to re-run for president this year, she will still be an instrumental part of the club, and has big plans for the 2019/20 year.
She wants to organise more trips away with mountaineering clubs from other universities, as well as become more connected with the Perth climbing wall.
Jones said: “We have been offered a half-price discount at the UHI campus in Perth one day a week, which we will definitely take advantage of.”
The mountaineering club continues to offer exciting opportunities to its members, from novices starting off, to those looking for more challenging climbs.
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