THE Old Man of Helsby and the mountains of Mongolia are familiar places to the climbers of St Helens Mountaineering Club which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.
During that half century they have walked and climbed throughout the UK and to the Alps and beyond. Weather permitting members can be found scaling the heights of the nearest crags and disused quarries and at weekends enjoy organised outings to the Lake District, North Wales, Derbyshire and Yorkshire.
The club has 80 members but has now joined forces with leading outdoor retailer GO Outdoors to promote the pursuit and encourage more people to get involved. If you fancy trying your hand at rock climbing, hill walking or mountaineering, this is the chance to meet experienced climbers and arrange to give the sport a go at a local venue or sign-up for a beginners meeting further afield.
Secretary Ken Fyles, a long-standing member, said: “You do not have to be a superstar to enjoy climbing; we have people of all abilities. Surprisingly, we were all once novices.
“The sport creates wonderful, lifelong camaraderie and with modern, rock protection equipment, climbing has become a much safer pastime. No matter what your ability or age, you can enjoy climbing and make great friends.”
GO Outdoors’ Ian Parker said: “Sometimes, climbing can seem to be a bit of a mystery, but we know from the equipment that we sell that it is becoming more popular. We are delighted the club is looking to give more people the chance to get engaged in a sport that has sometimes wrongly been thought of as the preserve of an elite few.
“The North West has produced world class climbers and mountaineers. For a very modest sum you can buy a kit to get you started in a sport that you will probably never give up.”
The St Helens Mountaineering Club arranges walking and climbing throughout the year, some from its own hut in the Lake District where there will be a beginners meeting from April 25 to 27.
Anyone interested in trying rock climbing is welcome at the Club’s recruitment day on Saturday, March 8 (9am to 4pm) at GO Outdoors, Caroline St, Wigan. WN3 4EL. More details from Ken on 01942 729328 or St Helens Mountaineering Club member Paul on 0773 875 3823. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org