THE CAIRNGORM CLUB
Based in Aberdeen, the Club was founded in 1887 and is the oldest and probably the largest hillwalking and
climbing club in Scotland. Its coat-of-arms was granted in 1965. Its objects are to encourage mountaineering,
with special reference to the Cairngorm mountains; to promote competence, safety, knowledge and
responsibility of attitude amongst mountaineers; to offer opportunities to engage in that pursuit in company with
others; to impart information concerning mountains; to keep under review rights of access to Scottish
mountains; and to issue publications.
The Club has three principal categories of membership - Ordinary, Associate and Honorary. Ordinary
membership is conferred only on persons who have sufficient mountain experience to be able to look after
themselves in all conditions normally encountered on the Scottish hills. Associate membership is open to
anyone aged at least sixteen, whatever the extent of his or her experience, and allows full participation in Club
activities and use of Club facilities. Honorary membership is conferred on those who have shown an especial
interest in the Club or its objects. Interim membership is available to those who would like to attend two or three
meets before deciding whether to join the Club.
The Club committee, elected annually at the AGM, comprises eleven office-bearers - a President, two Vice-
Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer & Membership Secretary, Huts Custodian, Day Meets Secretary, Weekend
Meets Secretary, Climbing Activities Secretary, Social Activities Secretary and a Communications Secretary.
The President, the two Vice-Presidents and the nine non-office-bearers cannot serve more than three years
The Club issues a periodic newsletter and an occasional journal (see below), operates a group e-mail system,
and maintains a website (www.cairngormclub.org.uk) with a wide range of information.
The Club’s accounts and membership year run to 30 September. Life subscription is available, currently at 25
times the full subscription rate. There is a reduced rate of subscription for members who at the beginning of the
subscription year or on admission are ordinarily resident and work more than 80 kilometres from Aberdeen, or
are aged under 21 or over 65, or are under 25 and still in full-time education.
The Club is a member of the North East Mountain Trust and of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, and
through these bodies receives information and makes representations about various matters relevant to the
hills and to walkers and climbers.
The Club’s membership of the MCofS also provides members with third party civil liability insurance cover
under the BMC’s hillwalking and climbing scheme.
The Club routinely makes financial contributions to mountain rescue organisations and is a member of the
Aberdeen St John Mountain Rescue Association, the National Trust for Scotland, the Scottish Rights of Way
Society and the John Muir Trust.
The role of a Meet Organiser - who will usually, but occasionally may not, attend the meet - is not that of a
leader. Before setting out, each participant is expected to leave a completed route card with the Organiser or
somewhere it can readily be found if necessary, and also to ensure that other people at the meet know their
general plans. On weekend or overnight meets, it is particularly important that any parties which expect to be
back after dark or whose plans are uncertain make this known in advance.
Members and others participate in Club activities at their own risk; the Club accepts no liability.
Even when walking with others it is essential that each person carries a map, compass and whistle, and
in winter an ice axe and crampons. Other necessities are proper boots, adequate warm and waterproof
clothing, and ample food and liquid.
Bookings should be made, in advance and accompanied by payment, with the relevant Meet Organiser.
Members may invite guests to meets and should book for them in the same way as for themselves, stating and
identifying the guests’ names. Guests (including children) are the responsibility of the member at all times.
Day meets take the form of one-day outings by bus, minibus or members’ cars. The bus always starts promptly
from Golden Square in Aberdeen, and picks up at certain regular points en route - Queen’s Cross, Anderson
Drive. and (on Deeside trips) Cults Square and the Bieldside Inn. Most meets include a stop for a hotel high tea
on the return journey.
Those attending day meets generally form themselves into parties ranging in size from 2 or 3 to 7 or 8. A
“President’s Party” is organised for newer members and others. Members are expected to plan their routes so
as to be sure of being back at the point where they are to meet the bus promptly at the pre-arranged time.
Spare clothes etc. can usually be left in the bus, at owner’s risk.
An overnight meet - usually cross-country - is sometimes held on one of the weekends nearest to the summer
solstice. No President’s Party is arranged, and members should ensure that they are adequately equipped for
up to 16 hours walking the hills and if necessary for sleeping in the open.
Weekend meets are arranged each month, with accommodation ranging amongst camping, hostels, club huts,
bed and breakfast, and hotels. Members usually arrange their own transport, but the Meet Secretary may be
able to help with offers of lifts. The “Easter” meet (usually held, in fact, a week or two either side of Easter itself)
is traditionally on a larger scale than the others.
During summer months, climbing meets on coastal cliffs near Aberdeen are held on Tuesday evenings, and
during the winter access to one of the climbing walls in the city is arranged. Informal instruction may be
available to newcomers, and the Club possesses a certain amount of climbing equipment.
In both summer and winter, the Club’s e-mail system is often used to promote informal small-group climbing
activities at week-ends, according to conditions.
On the last Thursday of each month, those interested in a 4-5 hour walk meet - usually at the Kingswells park-
and-ride car park - at 9.15 am, and proceed by car to a previously chosen point within one hour of Aberdeen.
There is no formal charge.
Indoor Meets are held over the winter, generally at 7.30 pm on Wednesday evenings, and currently at the
Aberdeenshire Cricket Club on Morningside Road off Great Western Road. Most take the form of an illustrated
talk by a guest speaker, but the first each year is usually a Members’ Night when members show perhaps 20
slides each. The Librarian generally takes along a selection of library books which can be borrowed, and
accepts the return of books which have been out.
The Annual Dinner is held in November, with representatives of other climbing clubs and mountain rescue
associations as the official guests of the Club. The meal is preceded by an illustrated lecture by a guest
In addition to the Dinner and Indoor Meets, the Club’s social calendar currently includes a Barbecue in mid-
June and ocassionally a Ceilidh Dance in October.
The Club ‘hut’, known as Muir of Inverey, is situated at OS grid reference 076896 some 8 kilometres west of
Braemar, on the north side of the Linn of Dee road, about 200 metres beyond the Inverey Youth Hostel. It is
available for use by Club members and guests accompanying them and also by members of other recognised
climbing clubs, with whom it is much in demand for weekends throughout the year. Bookings must be made to
the Huts Booking Secretary, and early booking is always advisable.
The original stone cottage was acquired on lease in 1950, and the feu was purchased in 1971. There have
since been three major refurbishments, the latest in 2004/05 incorporating facilities for the disabled.
Accommodation comprises a common room, a members' room, a fully equipped kitchen, four bedrooms (18
bunks with pillows and blankets, but sleeping bags or sheets must be used), two washrooms each with shower,
and a drying room. The members' room contains four collapsible beds reserved for use by members when all
bedroom places have been booked.
The Club Journal, published since its earliest days, is published every second or third year, and issued to
members free of charge. The Editor welcomes articles, notes, book reviews and other contributions at any time.
The Club has an extensive library with well over 300 books and sets of the journals of a number of British and
overseas climbing clubs. The library is located in the Special Collections Unit of Aberdeen University Library,
near (and east of) King’s College quadrangle. Opening hours are 9.30 to 4.30 on weekdays (public holidays
excepted), and production of a current Club membership card is essential. A selection of books from the Library
is usually made available at Indoor Meets.
The Club erected the indicators on the summits of Lochnagar in 1924 and Ben Macdhui in 1925, and the
bridges over the Druie on the Lairig Ghru track (NH 927078) in 1912 and over the Luibeg (NO 013942) in 1948.
In 1989, to mark the Club centenary, Piper’s Wood was set up as a regeneration project in middle Glen Ey on a
1.72 ha site (NO 098857). In 1995, some badly eroded parts of the footpath up Coire Etchachan (around NO
033995) were repaired.
The Club encourages members to become proficient in all aspects of hillcraft. At the most basic level,
participation in the President’s Party and simply walking in company with more experienced members should
help new members acquire certain skills. The Club also organises courses e.g. in winter skills, navigation and
first aid, at minimal cost; details are given in the newsletters, though information about courses aimed at newer
members is usually sent direct to them.
Various shops in Aberdeen offer discounts to Club members on production of a membership card.