R.John Hughes

The name was coined at the start in March 1987 much to BOOTS the chemist chagrin as an internet search will often bring up the walking club before BOOTS the chemist. The heydays of the club were between 1989 and 2009. This is when at the annual planning meeting in the Redgarth pub in the village, a methodical approach to climbing as many as a dozen Munros a year was undertaken. Corbetts and low-level winter walks all featured in the itinerary for the year. The itinerary is still a mainstay of the club and can be accessed online.

It has been found over the years that a walk every three to four weeks works out best, with weekends away featuring in the itinerary more so during the summer months.

With the demise of the Inverurie club in the early 90s we gained around 4 active members. Bill and Doug were two well on their way to completing the Munros and compleated before any of the rest of us. 2005 and 2009 saw John and Steve compleat their round of the Munros. For John it had taken 27 years, the average compleation time according to the Munro Society. In May 2019 Jeremy completed by doing the round of the Carn Mor Dearg arête and Ben Nevis.

Munros have not been the only focus of the club, but peaks on the islands off the west coast have featured. Mull, Jura, Arran, Rum and Lewis have all featured in the BOOTS itinerary over the years. Snowdonia peaks and peaks in the Lake District have also been tramped over.

To access remote peaks camping and bothies have been used. Long drives were common in the early years to access different peaks and a two-hour drive from Oldmeldrum was not uncommon. Today this length of drive to the likes of Creag Megaidh is uncommon. More weekends away are planned into the year’s walks now. The Early May Bank Holiday has been a favourite weekend away.

Today, 32 years on, the age of the club members is in the sixties and early seventies and age has taken its toll of members. Strokes, cancer, heart failure and other ailments have robbed us of friends and members.

Young blood is required to carry on the club, but like the Inverurie club that died out in the 90s no youngsters are coming forward to join. It is free to join and free to join in walks. There is a wealth of information available amongst older members and training in navigation and in the use of ice axes is provided free of charge to younger members.
Communication is by the BOOTS Yahoo group email and by this means arrangements for walks and ad hoc walks is carried out. Members are currently advised to join this group.

This walking group has above all been a way to enjoy walking in the mountains and hills amongst friends.

It has been a glorious 32 years and one hopes that it can carry on with new blood.

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