Get prepared to tackle new challenges! You don’t need to worry about whether you’re ‘good enough’ to go to a club meet, they’re set up to welcome new members and they cater for all abilities. At some point though, you might want to improve your skills in a more formal way, or learn totally new ones that will enable your next adventure, as well as translating into useful talents in other areas of life.
How Will I Learn New Skills?
No one starts out as an expert, and the more experience you get the more you’ll realise that there’s always more to learn! Over time you might like to work on your winter skills, navigation or climbing self-rescue. Club meets are an informal way for members to have fun practicing, not coaching sessions or lessons, but there’s a wealth of knowledge to tap into as you learn new skills. Being around others and having encouragement from a group can really help you stretch your comfort zone, and a club is the place to find friends who are at a similar level of ability. Likewise, if you’ve already got a fair bit of experience under your belt, it can be really rewarding to pass on the hard-earned knowledge and help develop the next generation. Club members learn together, and when you’re part of the group you’ll have the opportunity to give or seek advice.
As with any adventurous activity there is an element of risk involved in climbing, hill walking and mountaineering, and the safety of yourself and others is very important. Like any sport, it’s possible to get injured and accidents can happen. Risk is an integral part of the adventure. You can minimise risk by making sure you have the right level of skill and experience relative to the difficulty of the activity you’re taking part in. That might mean choosing the easiest routes available and working your way up, and learning skills like ropework or navigation is all part of the process. Through years of experience club members will be able to share safety hints and tips, and more experienced members can provide guidance. At the end of the day you have to be aware of the risk and take responsibility for your own actions.
If you’re ready to do some more formal training, it’s a great idea to go on a course then put your new-found skills into action at club meets. Some clubs offer skills development sessions, like how to start climbing outdoors, learning to lead, or mountain navigation. They might also be able to negotiate discounted rates that you couldn’t get on your own, or have access to subsidised training courses. There are a whole range of courses available, from the basics of rock skills, placing gear and learning to lead, to outdoor first aid and hill and mountain skills. You might even decide that you’d like to become a leader or instructor so you can help other people learn. There’s also the option to go with a guide, who can lead the way in locations you’re not familiar with, and help build confidence to go it alone next time. The more you practice the better you get.
It’s always good to have back-up options in case of bad weather! With around 300 BMC affiliated climbing, hill walking and mountaineering clubs in England and Wales, the variety of meets available means there are plenty of opportunities to branch out into new activities beyond climbing and walking. Some clubs also arrange caving, mountain biking, or paddling and kayaking. It means you can dip your toe in the water in related activities with people who know what they are doing, or give something back by passing on your knowledge. If you do decide to branch out, there’s often someone in the club who has been to your next destination, or attempted your planned challenge, who will be happy to give you all the inside information to help you prepare to tackle new challenges.
Ready To Learn New Skills?
Come along to one of our safety training courses to learn about outdoor first aid or improvised rescue for climbers. The BMC organises a series of training courses for BMC club members held at club huts and outdoor centres around the UK, and run by experienced and qualified instructors.
BROWSE: Our BMC clubs course finder
We’re making it easy for you to connect with friendly climbing and walking clubs in your area. Fast friends and fun-filled weekends guaranteed. Take a look at our latest project: Find Your Adventure.
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📧 Sign up for our regular Find Your Adventure email
We’ll send you an email every Monday for six weeks, taking you from finding a club, to your first meetup and even weekend away.
Find Your Adventure
📌 Locate a friendly club near you and get started
Check out the articles in this six-part series:
🥾 It's time to find your adventure
⛰️ Let's find you a club to join
🥾 Your first visit
⛰️ Learning and skills
🥾 Ready to head to the mountains