Written by Markus Arnold
We are the Hiking Club, and unsurprisingly, we like to go hiking! Our aim is to let students escape the traffic jams of Oxford Road every single weekend by heading out all over the UK countryside. Generally our trips run every Sunday and we take a coach-load of eager students to one of many destinations within the jagged mountains of North Wales, rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales or diverse landscapes of the Lake District. Every now and then we get a little more adventurous and head out for the whole weekend, staying in a bunkhouse or we camp to really get acquainted with the great outdoors; these weekend trips also give us opportunities to explore the exciting terrain of the Scottish Highlands.
Our trips have something for everyone from seasoned mountaineers to those who have never seen a hill before, many of our expert members started off just a couple of years ago with no experience whatsoever! Most trips also give members a chance to try their hand at scrambling – not always for the faint-hearted plus every now and then you might find a few of us heading out to do some climbing.
Rain or shine, the weather doesn’t hold us back and the magnificent views of the sunniest days are almost matched by the tales of soggy sandwiches and raging river crossings (read: swims!) from the downpours we are quite accustomed to here in Manchester. Winter is an especially fun time where we get to try out winter mountaineering with ice axes and crampons, but these will be provided along with teaching on how to use them!
Most recently the club has headed out to Helvellyn in the Lake District followed by Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales. These trips had everything from lakeside walks to dizzying scrambles, all in time to get back for some fish and chips delivered to Owen’s Park bar courtesy of some committee members.
Next up, we have a couple of trips over Easter; a week at Ullapool in the northernmost reaches of Scotland and a long camping weekend to Glen Coe, where we will have the chance to climb the UK’s highest peak – Ben Nevis. We will be rounding off the year’s hikes with the annual Welsh 3000’s challenge, an attempt to tackle every mountain over 3000 feet in Wales in under 24 hours (although we tend to average a stunning 17 hours)
Of course, hiking isn’t all we do! The club runs weekly socials of all shapes and sizes; these have included the usual pub crawls and meals out to ice skating, skiing and visiting the velodrome. We have a regular presence at the monthly ceilidh and upcoming socials are our annual dinner plus a BBQ at some point soon! This year has seen us conduct a number of charity socials, including entering a team that blitzed the 55-mile Bogle earlier this month, which has helped us to raise over £1150 so far for Mountain Rescue teams over the UK.
So how can you get involved? If you want to come along on a hike you will need to have your own hiking boots, remember to bring warm, waterproof clothes and bring a lunch for the day. Don’t be put off by thinking you have to commit to climbing mountains every weekend – everybody can just turn up to trips whenever they want. You can sign up to hikes by visiting us every day in the Student Activities Office on the 2nd floor of the Students’ Union from 12:30-13:00. If you just have questions or want to learn more you can come see us too!
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