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 have similar names, but the two clubs give very different characters and offerings. They’ll both happily build a belay for you, though.
Ben Lairig Mountaineering is seen as the university’s ‘big mountain’, exploratory and 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 further afield, recently featuring 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 types of rock climbing and bouldering for competition and fun. They run weekly day trips to iconic rock climbing venues, such as Brimham Rocks and Stanage Edge, through term and an annual trip to an excellent hot & dry location broad during the holidays. The sea cliffs of Greece and Sicily are recent examples. YUMC also trains weekly at Red Goat (the local bouldering wall) and participates in the Wars of the Roses against Lancaster and other competitions each year.
Check out YUMC’s website here.