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Next Meet

"Wild Camping"

1st - 3rd March 2013

Next Social

AGM. Portland D136.

Thursday 14th March
8.00 pm

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Ice Climb

Manchester Indoor Ice Wall
Friday 1st December at 8:30am

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Climb

MPS History.......(now also available in Cartoon Strip Form)

There had been a long tradition of small-scale unofficial Ramsoc meets in Scotland, and by the late 1980s some Ramsoc committee members began to dream of an official coach-driven meet. The problem was that coach drivers were required to sleep after eight hours driving which might not have got us there. In Autumn 1989 we put in a grant application for a New Year meet, with a Union minibus. They told us that Ramsoc (with 400+ members) already received so much money for its traditional rambling activities that we weren't going to get any more for exotic holidays to far-off places, i.e. they were capping our grant. How very foolish! We went to Glencoe anyway, without a minibus, and............

Simon and Chris plotting the next move

The above duo came up with the not-exactly-rocket-science idea of founding a new club, and were soon joined by a few like-minded asociates - the founding generation....... But was Ramsoc really that bad?

Anyway, it wasn't long until....

  • the "Munro Psycho Pineapple People" was born on Friday 2nd February 1990 after the first membership card was sold, for 50p, to Steve Egg, who Simon happened to meet outside the library at about 2pm after photocopying the first batch. The same day Chris and Simon roamed the Ramsoc coach on the way to Wales, pestering their captive audience to join up. Most of them thought it was a joke, or at worst, petty extortion (not surprising as Simon, being too stingy up to buy his own chips had once sat at the front of the coach levying a one-chip boarding tax from the other 51 passengers as they returned from the chippy). By the time we were back in Nottingham we had the 25 members needed to register as an official club, although as it was nearly Easter we had not dared charge them the required 1pound50 each to join a club which only existed if enough of them joined it. Some recently discovered old Ramsoc walksheets shed some more light on the period of labour as the round-tummied, heavily pregnant Ramsoc prepared to give birth to a bright new future.
  • The self-appointed Founding Interim Committee soon convened, drew up a constitution one evening in Hu Stu bar (we got hold of the Ramsoc one, boiled it down from 15 pages to 2 by leaving out all the unimportant-looking bits, and added something about inventing bizare mountain sports), and the club was officially registered with the Students Union. We submitted an extremely late grant application, for the Easter and Summer meets, and in a breathtaking U-turn they generously gave us everything we asked for. So we had a new club, and got our hands on the cash (400 pounds of it!) they had tried to deny us.

We were-

  • Simon Waddicor - President (Ramsoc: Ramble Sec)
  • Chris Smartt - Vice president (Ramsoc: Equipment & Safety)
  • Melinda Walker - Equipment/Maps (Ramsoc)
  • Steve Bashford - Treasurer (post-grad with alpine experience)
  • Martin Spiers - Admin (Ramsoc)

The name-change was partly to pacify Melinda who made her involvement conditional on us having a sensible name; well, we tried...a bit. The 'pineapple' bit was already considered sacrosanct, having originated in 1988, on Snowdon when Phil called to Chris- 'Lets climb the pinnacles on Crib Goch', to which Chris replied, 'Pineapples on Crib Goch??! Any other stories in circulation are made up, and probably came from committee members, starting with Steve Bashford, on the week-one stall who tried to fob off inquisitive first years with boring stories like misfunctioning spell-checks and the like. Melinda was still not pacified and started to refer to us as Munro Soc and write this on our stuff, so Simon countered by writing MPS on our maps and this name sufficed until someone stuck the cool 'mountaineering' bit on the end, which finally gave the uninitiated a clue as to what on earth the club was about.

  • The first AGM in March added a touch of democratic legitimacy as the self-appointed committee met and voted for each other (rather than themselves this time), adding a new Ramsoc first-year as treasurer, while final-year Martin Spiers stepped down, giving us the following team-
    • Chris Smartt - President (and Ramsoc: Ramble Sec)
    • Rupert Weare - Vice President (former Ramsoc committee)
    • Simon Waddicor - Mountain officer (and Ramsoc: Publicity Sec)
    • Melinda Walker - Equipment (and Ramsoc: Equipment & Safety)
    • Steve Bashford - Admin
    • Andy Sheppard - Treasurer (and Ramsoc: Admin Sec)

just in time for the first official (8-person, 2-car) meet to Kintail and the club's first mountain action (see 'Past Meets').

  • In the summer 1990 term after Ramsoc Sunday trips had stopped for exam revision, we had three minibus Sunday meets in the peaks, during which the Woolpacks on Kinder Scout were the subject of intense leaping, scouring and 'walrus-bonking' and Pineapple's Tables were born.
  • Melinda set to work creating our Mascot, the now-retired Gordon the Pineapple, and on the logo for our first T-shirt.

Chippy Meets became an official part of the programme, Sunday evenings at 6 at the Priory roundabout Chinese take-away. We ate 3-in-1s, a monster container of chips, fried rice and curry source, using any rambling equipment we happened to be carrying as cutlery (compasses were found to be very suitable), someone once even brought an ice axe along specially. Soon our usual competitive spirit led to a 3-in-1 consumption record which as far as I know still stands at four?

We advertised our summer-holiday meet, reaching beyond our Ramsoc constituency and getting some keen young first-years on board. 14 of us headed off on a camping/hosteling tour of Skye and the far North, in a minibus with just two long wooden side-benches in the back, and Julie as our only driver. We had two weeks of glorious, uninterrupted sunshine and, rather more importantly, ballcock cricket was 'discovered', the In Pinn and Stac Pollaidh conquered and Gordon the Pineapple began his bagging career.

On the In Pinn, once the UK's last unclimbed mountain (twenty years after the Matterhorn!), July 1990 -left to right- Mad Martin, Chris, Silly Rich, Justin, Melinda with a terrified-looking Gordon. (note the 'Ramsoc - we're well-ard, ice-axe-wielding mountaineers' T-shirt, which, before the first MPS ones appeared, was still cool gear to be seen in.)

So, two weeks of sunshine, and the bogroll awarded (for the most feeble bagging effort) to someone who had done twelve Munros. Surely things could only go downhill from here. And sure enough they did....precipitously! The New Year 91 meet. A grand total of no Munros at all were done after a week quite literally marooned in Glencoe (the road up the Glen was blocked by a huge landslip, the coast road to Oban closed due to flooding, and the snow-gates shut on the A9. Just to cheer matters up, 18 of the 24 on the meet contracted the Lurgy, throwing up in all directions across the freezing barn we had rented. It was avalanche risk 5 all week and only Colin enjoyed himself, with the help of the four extra puddings donated by the sickly to him at the end-of-meet hotel meal. Amazingly the club survived, and it's been uphill again ever since.

Here's the founding committee, with the 1995 Athletics Union Club of the Year award. ...............Some further early meet reports can be found here.

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Page last modified on February 11, 2010, at 04:37 PM