Ben Lairig was formed in 1983 as a splinter group from the Climbing Club (who later renamed to YUMC), as it was thought there wasn’t enough exploratory and Winter mountaineering in the club. It’s also rumoured the club is a spiritual offshoot of the ‘Lairig’ Club, the mountaineering club of the University of Aberdeen.
The first Ben Lairig committee was led by Jo Hunt as captain from 1983-86, Nick Zeir as secretary and Mark Beynon as treasurer.
The club has adopted a number of traditions over the years including an annual Pilgrimage to the Boot Festival in the Lake District for a club reunion each year, a weekend full of relaxed mountaineering and gossiping! There is also murmuring of a number of customs including the supposed tradition of trip attendees providing breakfast in bed to trip organisers. (A custom many are keen to revive!)
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Ben Lairig & YUMC compared
They both share a similar name, but the two clubs have very different characters and offerings. They’ll both be happy to flake a rope for you, though.
Ben Lairig Mountaineering, thought to be a spiritual offshoot of the University of Aberdeen’s Lairig club, can be seen as the university’s ‘big mountain’, exploratory or alpine/Winter mountaineering club. Ben Lairig’s weekend-long trips are always to the Lake District, Snowdonia or Scottish Highlands; the big mountainous regions of the UK. They also hold an annual trip to ranges abroad, recently including the High Atlas mountains, Isle of Skye and the Julian Alps – it’s always a Winter conditions destination. Due to the nature of what they do Ben Lairig is not a competitive club, but are driven by a love for adventure in the mountains.
York University Mountaineering Club, specialises in different breeds of rock climbing and bouldering for competition and fun. YUMC’s day trips are to iconic rock climbing venues, such as Brimham Rocks and Stanage Edge, through term and excellent hot & dry locations abroad during the holidays. The sea cliffs of Greece and Sicily are recent examples. YUMC also holds weekly meets at Red Goat (the local bouldering wall) and participates in the Wars of the Roses against Lancaster each year.
Check out YUMC’s website here.