North Kingston Hillwalking Club’s aim is to provide our members the opportunity to experience the joys of hill walking in the beautiful British countryside over a weekend at least once a month. In addition, we also try to do at least one local day walk in the south of England once a month on either a Saturday or Sunday.
The Club was formed in October 1992. It is affiliated to the British Mountaineering Council, which provides third party insurance cover and access to hut accommodation. Most members of the club are reasonably fit, although one or two are definitely not! Currently we have about forty members, with ages ranging from thirties to sixties. Membership is not confined to the Kingston area. Although most members do live in the locality we have members who live in Berkshire, Hampshire, Shropshire, Lancashire, North Wales and Cumbria who are at an advantage when it comes to weekend meets. The Club is managed by a committee.
The membership year runs from 1st October to 30th September. There is an annual charge of £25 which covers BMC membership, incidental costs and provides a fund for deposits on accommodation. Each member receives a copy of Summit magazine and a discount card giving 10-15% discount in outdoor shops such as Cotswold Outdoor, Snow and Rock etc.
The Club holds 10 to 12 weekend meets each year in the Lake District, Wales and other areas around the country with the emphasis on hill-walking. However, other activities such as scrambling, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking etc are encouraged. On weekend meets there are often two or more walks each day offering differing challenges. The walks do not have a designated leader and members are expected to be responsible for their own safety. However, training courses in navigation and scrambling techniques are run from time to time, and existing members are always available to offer assistance. A good pair of walking boots and a waterproof jacket and trousers are minimum requirements. Warm clothing is essential including hat and gloves. During the winter, walks sometimes require ice axe and crampons. A weekend meet costs approximately £50 to £80 (including accommodation, travel and breakfast). Accommodation is usually in bunkhouses where a sleeping bag is normally required. We also use youth hostels from time to time. A camping weekend is arranged over the August bank holiday.
The weekend meets are supplemented by monthly day walks in the south-east, usually as hilly as we can make them. Day walks are normally between ten and fifteen miles, depending on terrain and time of year. Social events take place on an ad-hoc basis and include pub meets, meals out, barbecues, ten pin bowling or visits to the local White Spider Climbing Wall in Kingston. A week-long holiday to Scotland is generally arranged for June.