Getting out in the outdoors is one of the main reasons to join a student climbing or walking club. But getting a bunch of keen students to the other side of the country and keeping them entertained outdoors for the weekend can be a logistical nightmare. Here’s some ideas to help make your trips away less stressful for those running them.
Transport can often be a limiting factor on club trips, especially if many of your members don’t have their own cars. Often Students’ Unions will have their own transport policies, especially if your SU has its own minibuses or schemes to help you hire externally, so refer to them in the first instance. If you have any issues or queries to do with car sharing or using minibuses, the BMC’s club guidelines on Transport offers a good summary.
If you’re stuck for somewhere to stay BMC affiliated clubs, you have access to a variety of Club Huts around the country which make great bases for exploring the mountains. There’s a guide to club huts and a list of where they are on the BMC website (www.thebmc.co.uk/how-to-use-club-huts).
Often on club trips you will end up in large groups out on the hills, so be mindful of the impact you might have on others and on the environment. Choose your venues carefully, can they handle the numbers you’re taking or are you better splitting and heading to different places? Even at a large crag, split into smaller teams and spread out. When working with novices, make sure they know about crag etiquette, litter, access and caring for the rock and make sure you lead by example.
The BMC produces two Green Guides for groups of Climbers and Walkers that are a must read to help you minimise your impact if you’re taking groups outdoors (www.thebmc.co.uk/green-guide-groups). The BMC Regional Access Database contains lots of information about access, approach and conservation at crags all over the UK and is an important tool to help assess whether a crag is suitable for your group.
Remember, if your trip’s hit a snag, or you’re stuck for ideas, there’s not many problems that other clubs haven’t experienced. The BMC Student Club Officers Group on Facebook is a good place to ask for tips and advice from the committees of other clubs, or to share experiences that you think might help others.
Top Tips for Top Trips:
Get organised. Book your huts and transport way in advance.
Download the BMC RAD App, and check it every time you head to a crag.
Be inclusive. Make sure everyone can get something out of the trip.
Talk to others at the crag. Friendly chats can solve many issues.
Involve newer members in decisions. Then they can learn why you made them.
Climbing gear is heavy! Be aware of the maximum loads of any vehicles.
Don’t rely on the Great British Weather! Have a plan B in case the weather’s miserable
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