Fancy a few routes after work? Or a day out walking in the hills? Clubs are the very best way to meet friendly, like-minded people who are up for the same kind of adventures as you, and with regular planned meets you’ll never have to wonder what to do or who to do it with. The next step is to go along and find out what it’s all about!
What Happens On My First Visit?
Once you’ve found a club, choose which ‘meet’ you’d like to go to. Each club will publish a list of dates, locations and times, and who to contact. On the day, everyone meets at an agreed time and place, then activities commence! If you’re a climber, you’ll pair up with someone who’d like to climb at a similar grade to you, and expect to swap partners during the meet. Clubs are an informal way for members to have fun practicing, they’re not coaching sessions or lessons, and a little experience is usually expected. If you’re keen to climb outside but you’ve never climbed at all, consider joining an indoor meet first to get a handle on the basics. Climbing walls will often run free induction sessions to teach you everything to need to know to get started.
If you’re new, you won’t be expected to have all the equipment straight away, but most new climbers will have a harness, helmet, and climbing shoes. Walkers will need suitable boots or shoes, and a backpack with the essentials. You’ll need to bring clothing suitable to the environment, bearing in mind you could be outside until sunset, or all day whatever the weather brings. Make sure you pack warm layers, a waterproof jacket, gloves and a headtorch. Experienced club members will help you work out what you need, and there’s more guidance here. Being outside for hours uses a fair bit of energy, so bring snacks and plenty of water. Some of the group might go for a quick drink or a bite to eat at the end of the day. Every meet and club is different, but for an idea of what to expect, watch this short video of The Rucksack Club’s annual trip to the sea cliff climbing paradise of Gogarth, topped off with a huge beach BBQ.
If you’d like to come along with a friend, no problem. Club meets are social occasions, and everyone is welcome, so remember to mix and mingle so you can get to know new friends too. Clubs are run by volunteers for like-minded people to enjoy spending their free time together, and no one is entitled to anything, like lifts or teaching. We all get out what we put in, so come along expecting get involved, help out and pitch in. Depending on the meet there are all kinds of opportunities to give something back, like giving someone without transport a lift, carrying heavy gear, or cooking or washing up for the group as well as leading routes.
If you’re visiting a new group on your own it’s natural to feel nervous about whether people will talk to you, but don’t worry. Most clubs have a new members officer - it’s their role to chat to newcomers, find out a bit about you, and introduce you to the others. It’s a good idea to drop the club a message in advance so they know to look out for you when you arrive, and remember to introduce yourself when you get there. Once you’ve spent time together hiking, or climbed a couple of routes, you’ll soon have adventures in common and new experiences to chat about.
Ready To Get Going? Let’s Find A Club!
Excited to get started? Great! Use our club finder to see what meets are happening near you. With around 300 BMC affiliated climbing, hill walking and mountaineering clubs in England and Wales, there’s sure to be something to suit your interests.
There are two easy ways to look for clubs: Use our map to search by postcode or town. Or go to our searchable list of BMC-affiliated clubs.
READ: Find out what it feels like to be a new club member in this interview with Vicky Heyes
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.
Take the next step
📧 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