The Gentian Mountaineering Club of Great Britain
The Gentian Mountaineering Club was founded in 1974 and is affiliated to the British Mountaineering Council. It was originally started by George Watkins, a member of the Stroud Ramblers. Since then it has grown into a national club, with members from all over Britain (and one or two from further afield). We currently have around 50 members.
A shared love of the hills and mountains is our common bond. Our purpose is to arrange a programme of mountaineering, walking, scrambling and similar activities for our members. To arrange social activities to promote good fellowship amongst the members.
The Gentian is a blue, alpine flower that only grows in the high mountains. A very appropriate emblem for a mountaineering club.
The Club arranges a programme of meets throughout the year. Most are weekend meets (Friday to Sunday) but we also arrange some week long meets.
We have meets in the Lake District, Wales, the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales. Normally there’s a Scottish Winter Week (February) and a Spring Bank Holiday meet. There is also an annual backpacking meet.
We stay in simple accommodation to keep the cost down, often other Clubs’ huts. As a consequence, a weekend meet is very inexpensive, averaging between £35 and £45, including the meals.
What Happens on Meets
As well as the outdoor activities, our Club prides itself on being very friendly and welcoming to new members. A typical weekend starts with everyone arriving on Friday evening, and members who arrive early often get together to cook a meal or eat in a pub.
Unlike many clubs we cater together and eat as a group. On Saturday morning we all have breakfast together and members who have offered to lead routes describe their plans. Members sign up for the walks, which sometimes may involve a scramble, as they wish.
We are not Ramblers
The Gentian Mountaineering Club is probably best described as a “hard walking club”. Most members are not in the “super fit” category but we do have many strong hill walkers.
Our purpose is to enjoy a good day on the hill. The routes vary in difficulty depending on the location, who is leading and what the weather is like on the day.
At the end of the day we have a meal together, prepared by volunteers. There is a vegetarian and non-veg option as well as starter and dessert. There’s wine and beer as well.
Saturday evening is a great opportunity for a chat about the day’s walks or to catch up on other news. Sunday proceeds in the same way and we generally leave late afternoon. Sometimes there is an option to stay on Thursday or Sunday nights as well.
Once you book on a meet you will get a sheet beforehand with information including directions, facilities at the accommodation and contact details of those attending. Members often share transport. Anyone using public transport can often be picked up at local train or bus stations.
Come along and find out
If you like the sound of the Club we’d love to see you on a meet! For insurance purposes it is necessary to join the Club to attend a meet. However, if you come along and decide it’s not for you, we will refund your membership fee.
You must be over 18 to join and currently the membership fee for new members is £15.
How do I Join?
To join or just find out more, e-mail the Membership Secretary at: email@example.com with your name, address and a contact number.