The Club began in 1957 as the Scotsman Mountaineering Club with its members travelling by hired coach to the hills. Its founding chairman was the writer and broadcaster Rennie McOwan, then a Scotsman journalist. The club also had Sir John Hunt (of Everest fame) as its first honorary president
In those days, few people walked the Scottish hills and there was little in the way of weatherproof clothes, guidebooks and climbing gear. Ice-axes and crampons were virtually unknown. On an early ascent of Ben Lui one group traversed icy scree in single file, passing their single ice-axe to and fro to cut steps as required.e Club began in 1957 as the Scotsman Mountaineering Club with its members travelling by hired coach to the hills. Its founding chairman was the writer and broadcaster Rennie McOwan, then a Scotsman journalist. The club also had Sir John Hunt (of Everest fame) as its first honorary president.
Soon partners of Scotsman employees were allowed to join as associate members. By 1972, associate members outnumbered ordinary members, and so it was decided to open membership to all, and the name was changed to the Ptarmigan Mountaineering Club.
Since the early days club activities have centred on one-day meets by hired coach, with occasional social events and a communal high tea on the November meet. At first members were free to walk wherever they liked on the meet, but problems with erratic timekeeping eventually led to calls for greater organisation. This led to the introduction of the present system where route plans are discussed on the outward journey and recorded by the bus convener, with an emergency phone number available and an agreed place and time for pick-up on the route home.
Recollections of the club’s early days can be found in Rennie McOwan’s article “Looking back from a hilltop” in The Scots Magazine, vol. 145, no.5, November 1996, p.504-510.
We are an Edinburgh-based hillwalking and mountaineering club that runs a monthly Sunday bus, usually to the Highlands but also to the Borders or the Lake District.
Our members have a wide range of ages, abilities and interests, from hill-running and serious climbing to low-level walking, bird-watching and botany. We have a wealth of experience, including several who have completed the Munros, Corbetts and even Grahams.
How the Club Works:
Our monthly newsletter suggests a variety of walking routes for forthcoming meets. However we give ourselves freedom to break up into small groups (minimum 3 people) and to do our own routes at our own pace, without a leader. We can leave and rejoin the bus at any point on the way. This opens up many through routes and variations compared to circular walks when using a car, and someone else takes the strain of driving. The bus convener notes all the day’s groups and routes and agrees a pick-up time and place with each group.
We welcome potential new members to the club who have some experience of hill walking and are well-equipped. You can attend as a guest for up to three meets, after which we hope you will join the Club. We are a friendly lot, happy to share our love of the hills. Although we don’t “lead” walks or provide formal tuition, our bus convener will be able to provide advice on choice of routes and suggest walking companions for you. As an MCofS affiliated club, our members are entitled to discounts on formal weekend and week courses in summer and winter mountaineering available at Glenmore Lodge near Aviemore.
Ways to Contact: