Club History

Foundation of the North West Mountaineering Club
Tuesday 26th April, 1955, Strand Café, Derry

The Derry Standard, 29th April, 1955:

On Tuesday evening, at a meeting in Londonderry, a group of hiking and mountaineering enthusiasts formed a Club to be known as the North West Mountaineering Club. There are eleven founder members, including five persons who are already members of the Irish Mountaineering Club or other clubs.

Mr JB Glover, ACA, was elected as the first Chairman, and Mr DAR Johnston and Mr Dennis Helliwell were elected to the offices of Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

Up to the present the members have, during the past three years, been covering a great deal of ground, mostly in County Donegal and while the informal manner of arranging outings and meets has suited a small number, the decision to form a Club has been taken due to the increased interest shown by a number of outdoor enthusiasts.

During the coming summer months, and in the Autumn and Winter, it is intended to hold many meets in Donegal and further afield and it is hoped, by active participation, and by Press reports, to promote an interest in the fine countryside which is so easily accessible from this city and in the practice of the not-so-dangerous art of mountaineering, together with an appreciation . . . .

The following is extracted from the 50th anniversary journal that the club produced in 2005.  It is not exhaustive, but gives a good indication of the club’s activities and activists throughout the years.

1955: The First Year (Extracts from the Club Log Book).       By Patrick Simms

Dismounting from our time machine at the end of memory lane, we find a red asterisk in Joey Glover’s diary on Tuesday, 26th April – ‘N.W. Mountaineering Club formed’ (in the Strand Café, Derry). This pinpoints the exact date of the Club’s formation, with eleven founder members, Chairman: J. Glover, Vice-Chairman: Denis Helliwell.

Prior to this date there had been regular outings every Sunday and quite often on Saturdays with Wednesday evening meets in summer. The Easter meet 9th – 11th April had been spent in the Mournes and Carlingford area. Club notes published in the 1955/1956 Journal of the I.M.C. indicated that the Club had produced no guidebooks or newsletters, but that detailed log books contained a wealth of information. (Two fascinating volumes have recently come to light).

This insight into highlights of the Club’s first year has been from verbatim reports in the diary. It emphasises the pioneering spirit of those early days, as well as the long forgotten hot summer of that year. The year also saw the publication of H.P. Swan’s ‘Highlight’s of the Donegal Highlands’ in which an illustrated article on Mountaineering was contributed by J.B. Glover. Ex-member John Whittow now at Reading University (from whom a letter was recently received) and author of ‘Geology and scenery in Ireland’ (1974) states ‘Many of these (NWMC) explorations formed the background to Chapter 5 (Donegal)’.

30th April: ‘First meet of NWMC, but I missed the lot’ – poor organisation – this part of the country worth exploring’ (ascent of Croaghglengad and along cliffs at Glengad). 7th – 10th May: Trip to Snowdonia – ‘Tryfan, the best mountain I have seen outside Switzerland’.

The first big meet was recorded at the end of the month with an abortive boat trip to the foot of Slieve League, and a ground swell preventing a beach landing. There followed a ‘very arduous ascent’. The next day there was ‘fantastic climbing on the Sturrall’. The day finished with Denis Helliwell having a slight accident with the Garda in Raphoe.

After preparations earlier in June, several members in the ever useful Utilicon assembled at Masinass Hotel outside Creeslough on the 18th for the “red letter day”. This was a 3.30 am start on the “Marathon” walk to Dunlewy which was reached at 1.42 pm. Boyd Jack set the pace with the time of 6 hours 58 mins. The rest of the day was deservedly spent on the beach at Tramore and Portnablagh – “superb weather really made this a day in a thousand possible”. A week later there was a party in the Bluestacks with three staying overnight at Lough Belshade.

On 9th July a Christ Church Youth Guild group was led up Muckish via the sand-pit. Next day a moonlight climb up Errigal – “a memorable occasion, almost perfect weather. Cold at top but warm on the way up – dawn beautiful (but not colourful)”.

From 23rd – 6th August Joey was in Scotland climbing in Glencoe and the Ben Nevis range. From Mallaig he crossed to Skye for two days, sights trained on the Black Cuillin – “ a life time’s ambition”, returning to the  mainland he visited  Glen Nevis. Four days later while based at Oban, the Aonach Eagach at Glencoe was tackled – “a  frightful ridge …had to leave it at one point”.

A traverse of half a dozen summits west of Slieve Snaght (L. Barra) took place in mid August – “A long tiring walk”. On 21st, Maghera to Croaghballaghown was described as “a good day…this is the best part of Donegal”. At the end of the month on a visit to the Bluestacks  a new climb “Armadillo” was explored on the east face of Cronamuck.

In September a party camped and ascended Slieve Snaght, with rock climbing on Bingorms. The following week (at Glenveagh) – “along beach, up side of Astelleen Waterfall, across bog at top of Dooish, on over Saggartnadooish and down to Dunlewy road near Calabber Bridge”. The month drew to a close with a visit to the Mournes.

Early October saw the “first real winter’s day” on an outing to Ballaghgeeha Gap and the Poisoned Glen gullies. Other routes during the month included a gale-blown ascent of Barnesmore, Glascarns Hill – Croaghbane, and a pot pourri of short walks in the Mulroy Bay, Rosguill peninsula area.

Highlights in November included a “wonderful day’s climbing” on “Adam’s Rib” (in the Crockanaffrin range), the Urris Hills, Bluestacks and Glengad Head.

A visit to the Wicklows early in December included an Irish M.C. AGM. and dinner with an ascent of Lugduff and Mullacor at Glendalough the following day. The year terminated with three new cairns being built on the Urris Hills on Christmas Eve.

NWMC 1956-1964 Highlights  (from Joey’s diaries).


26/02 Erected sign at shelter stone at Lough Belshade

31/03 Easter trip to Connemara & Mayo.

28/07 Members lost on Croaghconnellagh, – Garda called!


During January all trips were by bus.

30/03 Easter trip to North Wales.

4/05 Detained by Garda after Cuilcagh.

7/06 Long weekend in Connemara

29/06 A week in Arran, Scotland.

21/07 Largest turnout so far- 16 to Glenveagh.


6/01 Joey fell into gully on Muckish and broke three teeth.

4/04 Easter trip to Kerry.

31/08 Marathon in reverse by moonlight (start 9.30 pm, finish at Massinass 10.15am)

12/10 Joint meet with IMC in the Bluestacks.

26/10 Rock climbing on Cronamuck.


21/03 AGM in Carrig-Rua, Dunfanaghy, again!

14/06 Joey’s disputed sighting of Skye from Knocklayd at Ballycastle.

19/06 17 hour overnight traverse of the Nephinbeg Ridge (starting 9.15 PM)

28/06 A week in North Wales.

14/11 Mournes and IMC AGM.


January, February, March saw a blitz on lesser known and touched Donegal tops.

9/06 Midnight ascent of Raghtin Mor

24/06 Scotland, ascents of Buachaille Etive Mor, Cuillins, Liahach and Suilven.

Summer camping trip


01/01 Second New Year’s Day ascent of Errigal. Planted ‘Steep Hill’ sign on top.

05/03 Climbed Croaghnaloughnambracky.  Where?

08/04 First AGM at Greencastle.

04/06 Midnight ascent of Helvellyn.

21/07 Rock climbing at Malin Head.

21/08 Hillwalking tour of Ireland (Twelve Bens, Maamturks, Comeraghs & Galtees).

16/09 Meet abandoned due to Hurricane Debbie.

31/12 Midnight bonfire on Errigal.


01/04 Snow ascent of back of Errigal.

21/04 Easter trip to Kerry.

14/08 Cairngorm, Ben Macdui, Cairn Toul, Angel’s Peak, Brairaich, Carn Lochan and Cairngorn (Again) in 11 hours.


19/01 Joey got exposure in the Glendowan Mountains.

03/02 Crossed Lough Belshade on ice.

07/04 Attempt to walk 50 miles in 13.5 hours over Inishowen. Failed.

12/04 Easter trip to Achill and Nephinbeg Mts.

02/06 Mourne Wall Walk.  Joey’s time 8 hours 52 mins.

01/09 Joey to Bernese Oberland for one week’s walking.

31/12 Midnight Bonfire on Scalp.


05/01 Rock climbing on Leal Point, Clonmany.

01/03 Sawel, Dart and Errigal!

23/05 Another hill walking trip around Ireland, Galtees, Reeks, Dingle, Twelve Bens and Achill.

20/06 Reached last unclimbed 1000 foot summit in Donegal.

21/08 North Wales.

20/09 Carnaween and Slieve League by moonlight.

1965     From reports in the Londonderry Sentinel 

The first things that struck me on reading the NWMC Sentinel reports, were the length and frequency (2-3 columns & fortnightly), their detail (Joey had names for everything) and the fact that the reports were prominent and frequently carried a photograph.

The initial report of the year on 6th January described a party climbing Ben Bradagh to observe the total eclipse of the moon.  Unfortunately it was heavily overcast that night, and the lone individual who climbed Scalp on Christmas night hadn’t much more luck, almost getting lost on the top. Winter conditions seem to have been quite severe in January, with snow climbing on the Aghlas, Muckish and Aghla (Fintown).These articles were frequently “padded out” with extensive notes for walkers and drivers.

The 27th January issue recorded an unforgettable experience on Sl. Snaght, when a party of five got above both the snow and cloud line at about 1250 feet, and enjoyed superb views of the snow clogged gullies in the Poisoned Glen, with the crystal clear snow covered Donegal Highlands to the North.

At the end of March there was an unsuccessful attempt to reach the bottom of the cliffs at Sl. League, and also the A.G.M which elected the following officers;  Chairman J.B.Glover, Vice Chair Dr. Ruth Burns, Hon.Sec. Myrtle Rainey, Treasurer Noel Bogle.   Two guests from Glenfoffany C.C. were present at the dinner.

The Easter trip was to Cork and Kerry, with the Sugarloaf at Bantry, Reeks, Brandon and ‘The Pocket’ area all receiving attention. In April the old Marathon(From Massinass) was abandoned due to weather, as were 2 boat trips to Glashedy Island off  Ballyliffin.   Three members were successful on the Mourne Wall Walk, as were a party in reaching the top of Torylaydon Island at Port. Aghla was again visited, and Joey describes finding a remote ruined cottage with an intact dresser full of delf, which had lain vacant for some 7 years.   Having promised the Sentinel reporter a photograph, he returned less than a week later to find the dresser vandalised, but nevertheless obtained a photo of the few remaining pieces, which duly appeared in the paper.  A further trip to Glashedy was planned, but as activities (or perhaps reports) ceased over the summer, we are still unsure whether or not it succeeded .

Reports from September to the year’s end were much fewer and briefer, but one of particular interest described how Coronation Cottage came to get it’s name.   Apparently club members were enquiring from the elderly lady occupant the name of the hill behind the cottage. She replied that she didn’t know, as she wasn’t from about these parts. It transpired that she had only been living in the valley for some 50 years (having been from Reelan Bridge 2.5 miles away). Further enquiries revealed that the last time she had been in Stranorlar, the nearest town was to watch the coronation on TV some 3 years previously. Thus Coronation Cottage!

Further outings appear to have been so routine as to not be worthy of much comment, but mention is made of a long walk in the Lough Derg area, bagging Slemish, Tievebulliagh and Lurigeithan in snow in one day, and a rock climbing trip to the ‘Camel’s Hump’ and ‘Three Bears’ near Lough Gulladuff in the Bluestacks in December.

The final report of the year mentions with some disgust, that no plans had been made to welcome in 1966 in the traditional way with a bonfire on Errigal.

The Early Seventies.   (Mary Jones)

When I first joined the North-West Mountaineering Club in the autumn of 1969, it seemed new enough to be still firmly under the leadership of founder member Joey Glover, and established enough to have its own traditions.  The meeting place and time – 10.00 a.m. on Sundays at the back of the Guildhall – persisted through the bombing of the building; a Sunday in north Donegal would alternate, almost like a law of nature, with a Sunday in south Donegal, and high tea in Gallagher’s in Letterkenny with high tea in Keys’ in Ballybofey.

Despite this regular routine, where exactly we went was always something of a lottery, and knowing where exactly we were going even more of one – a mystery to be solved only by a gradually acquired telepathic insight into Joey’s mind.  With no printed, or even unprinted, programme, walks seemed to evolve spontaneously week by week.  This was impressive, and it had a nice informality about it, and obvious advantages: on a fine Sunday an ambitious climb could be undertaken; on a wet and misty one, a low-level walk.  Impressive alright, but not, alas, infallible.  On a number of occasions half the Club ended up on one mountain and half on another.  Misunderstandings, in the era before the mobile phone, abounded.  And it was not only the vagaries of Joey’s mind that had to be fathomed; it was the vagaries of his routes.  He was a man prone to short cuts and could shake off a whole convoy of cars by shooting up a lane to cut off a corner.  He could shake off an entire covey of climbers on a mountainside too, not so much by moving faster than everyone else but by never slowing down, and certainly never stopping – neither for summit nor sustenance.  Many were the times we stood on a peak peering for a dot in the distance to show us which way to go … But if his road routes could be suspect, his mountain routes were invariably spot on.  Time and again an intrepid few would rebel and take a direct route rather than stay up on a meandering ridge, only to flounder in a quagmire, and find Joey impatiently waiting for them back at the cars.

NWMC in the Trossachs

The first Sunday I appeared behind the Guildhall, Joey advanced affably to shake my hand; then his expression changed to horror.  I still quail to think how I dared to face him in tennis shoes (these were the days before trainers).  The only other member there was a good-natured, fair-haired schoolboy called Graham. We drove to Crockanaffrin, where about ten members of the club, among them Bill Armstrong and Maurice Simms, were already rock-climbing.  As occasionally happened in those days, one group went rock-climbing while another walked in roughly the same area, and we met up for a meal afterwards.  That day we walkers – among whom was another new member, Dennis Golden – went to Knockalla, and it was that ridge, with its black brooding lakes and dark heathery hills, that was my first encounter with the wilds of Donegal.  We walked from one end to the other much too fast and I was knackered.  The following weekend we went to Lough Fin and climbed the gully up Aghla: somebody lost a glove on its strange plateau of lakes and peat hags, and when I jumped off one of the latter I found myself trapped to the thighs in black butter, totally unable to move.  Beyond that, memories merge, for those were the first Sundays of hundreds, as I went out regularly with the Club from then until 1974, in which year I moved to Portrush – even so, I continued to come out intermittently for several years after that.

Memories of many splendid or scary walks surface at random: a hairy moment on ‘One Man’s Pass’ on Slieve League; an even hairier moment on Torolaydan, off Slieve Tooey, when Avril Millar and I got caught in a landslide; a race down the sand-shoot on the Miners’ Track on Muckish, won by Bill Armstrong falling splat on his face on the concrete base; the discovery of beautiful amethysts in the Blue Stacks; meeting Joey’s challenge to climb that slab on Muckish with no hands; the bold approach of stags in rut near the waterfall on Slieve Snaght, above Lough Barra; the sight of a double brocken spectre from the top of Errigal; a visit in curraghs to the island of Owey, then still inhabited. 

What is astonishing to recall is how far afield we travelled on those Sundays.  I remember setting out up the gully on King’s Mountain in Sligo feeling seriously car-sick from hurtling at breakneck speed round the distinctive west-of-Ireland roads, and I remember a trickier gully and a hidden but massive cave system on Ben Bulben.  We used to come north to the Causeway coast too, and to the Sperrins (whenever Joey’s memory of how boggy and undramatic they are lapsed).  And we went south to Cuilcagh, with its wrecked plane, and to Slieve Anierin near Lough Allen.

Recently, I came across my Secretary’s Report for an AGM of the Club that records the events of 1972 (much to my amazement, for I don’t recall ever being Secretary, and I can’t think I was so for long).  It mentions, and so reminded me of, the weekend trips we used to have.  The June of 1972 seems to have been particularly punishing: I record that after a freezing night camping on Cruit Island in a howling gale and lashing rain, with the tents facing the wrong way on a backward slope, only the Chairman and Secretary dutifully held on for a second – even worse – night.  Everyone else seems to have decamped to the Viking, in those pre-Daniel O’Donnell days.  A second camping weekend took place near Glencolumbcille, seemingly in similar conditions, as I record that the tents, initially erected above the Silver Strand at Malin Beg somehow ended up on the lawn of the hotel at Malin More.  After that, it appears, there was a bed-and-breakfast weekend in Sligo.  There was also a weekend at the National Hotel in Donegal during which four car-loads, aiming for the same Blue Stack, came unstuck.  Two groups climbed separate peaks while a third managed to climb nothing at all, and to leave behind one of their number who went to mass.

Lough Salt featured prominently in the walks of 1972: Lough Salt to Bunlin Bridge, Lough Salt to somewhere near Bunlin Bridge and Lough Salt without Bunlin Bridge.  A further walk encompassed Lough Salt to Bunlin Bridge and Bunlin Bridge to Lough Salt all in the one day, owing to an oversight (the keys to the cars at Bunlin Bridge being locked in the cars at Lough Salt).  This in turn reminds me of other more complicated but equally disastrous A to B walks – the ones which began at both ends and supposedly crossed in the middle.  Their success depended, of course, on a mid-walk exchange of car keys.  It was an admirable idea that had the merit of saving time when depositing cars at widely distant points, but in a Donegal mist it had a flaw.  And inevitably, on these occasions, there would indeed be a Donegal mist … Even Joey, who never carried a compass since he never paused long enough to be able to take a reading, could on occasion be flummoxed by poor visibility.  I remember a blizzard in which he and I were walking together across the featureless top of Crocknalaragagh: when at last we spotted other human footprints in the snow I was delighted, but Joey instantly recognised that we had walked round in a circle.

In that era of the early seventies, curiously enough, dogs seemed to be mascots of the Club.  Joe’s labrador Harvey would make irregular appearances, his apparently placid nature belied by the way he would encroach on fellow passengers, breathing down their necks and leaning heavily, until he had acquired more back-seat territory.  Then, for a while, there was Barbara Kearney’s black poodle, lightly leaping over the tallest heather, with the stamina of an ox. Then Dennis Golden’s fun-loving Punch, with no stamina at all, who spent half the walk with his head poking out of Dennis’s rucksack, and who thought he could fly and swim, until a duck taught him different and he had to be rescued from a lake.  It sounds like an age of innocence, before dogs chased sheep, only it wasn’t. Harvey ended his days as Club mascot on the tip of Inishowen, one Wednesday evening, when he tore after a ewe.  Typically, Joey drove back to the scene of the attack the following night to ascertain the fate of the victim, and was relieved when he couldn’t find her.

Those summer Wednesday evening walks, usually to Inishowen, had, like the Sunday walks, been long established.  So too had the annual Ten Tops’ Walk, in which the ten highest mountains in Donegal are climbed within 24 hours.  I remember trying to do it one year, and failing.  We drove to the Blue Stacks, I think to Joey’s favourite starting-point at Coronation Cottage, from where we set off at midnight.  It was wonderful to climb the five peaks there by moonlight, but what I hadn’t reckoned with was the extra time and energy it took when you were constantly losing your footing and failing to notice holes (not to mention cliff edges).  I seem to remember dawn rising and then climbing Dooish in a daze, but after that I feel asleep in the back of a car, and only woke up in time to rejoin the others for the final mountain.  My hazy memory registers this as Slieve Snaght in Inishowen, but can that possibly be right?  It could have been just about anywhere by that time. Only two people completed the walk that year, and one was Billy Plews.  Who the other was I can’t think, even though I have a lasting impression of the two of them, at the celebratory meal afterwards, eating not with the gusto of the triumphant and ravenous, but in painful slow motion, the effort of chewing nearly defeating them.

The annual Marathon (later renamed ‘The Glover Marathon’) had lapsed when I first joined the Club, but I was in on its resurrection.  Tough-going in its relentless, sharp gradients, it is a rewarding walk – beginning on the summit of Muckish and ending on the summit of Errigal and taking in all the peaks in between.  My enduring memory of it is of Alan Warner injuring his knee at the foot of Errigal (on the way upit).  He and I were the last participants to struggle up to its summit: we arrived there just in time to see the entire fleet of cars at the finishing post far below us, drive off without us!  (Seeing we were so far behind, they’d decided to go and get their tea before coming back for us!)

It is when I look back to the Club’s Easter trips that I see most clearly the way the Club developed during the years I spent with it.  In 1970 we went to Kerry: we scaled every Macgilllycuddy Reek in thick mist, and in thick mist, after climbing Brandon, we watched in awe as two younger members put their boots back on to reclimb it to look for Alan Warner, last seen on the summit. He had wandered down into the wrong valley, but just as the rescue party was setting off, a car drew up and out he popped.  In 1971 we went to Connemara, where the walking was just as tough but the weather was glorious.  In 1972 there was no Easter trip, but Bill and Paula Armstrong’s wedding instead.  After that came the Trossachs in Scotland, so snowy that the mountain hares hadn’t shed their white coats, and so windy it was hard to breathe, never mind climb.

Then we went to the Lake District and there was a hiccup.  Up to that point, whatever the weather, the Easter trips had been hectic, with an astonishing amount of ground covered at speed.  Wonderful routes through wonderful mountains had been followed regardless of conditions and contingencies, with a determination to make the most of every minute and leave none spare.  Then ominously, one drizzly morning in Grasmere, as Joey rounded us up for departure, Kate Christie was mislaid.  Some brave soul volunteered the information that she had last been seen heading for a guided tour of Dove Cottage.  Stunned silence.  Someone was sent to fetch her.  There followed a murderous day of gulleys, valleys, edges, ridges and ledges.  That evening, after Joey outlined plans for the morrow, another silence fell.  A small solitary voice – Alan Tees’s, I think – broke it: ‘We’re not coming, Joey.’  It was a bombshell.  ‘What, none of you?’  Patrick Simms alone capitulated, and loyally, the next day, he followed Joey above Buttermere and into the beyond (not even he was sure where he’d been).  That evening he too was provoked to discontent.  When Joey enthused about the views they had had (as we’d been pottering aimlessly among lesser slopes), Patrick was heard to mutter he wished he’d had time to see them.  More tellingly, perhaps, he had brought home his lunch, untouched.

After that there was more consultation and discussion; walks were planned by the committee now, and more democratic running of the Club was beginning.  Even so, Joey’s influence persisted, a sign that we did after all respect his knowledge, skill and leadership.  Even after his death, his spirit remained with the Club.  On an Easter trip to North Wales, I remember, it poured with rain and we were swathed in thick mist; nevertheless we climbed Snowdon (by Crib Goch), the Glyders, the Carneddau, and that mountain Joey used to claim was the only one in the British Isles it was impossible to climb with your hands in your pockets – Tryfan.

It was to Joey’s credit that he adapted to the changes in the Club, remaining as committed to it as ever.  He was able to see the challenge to his leadership as something positive, and an indication of the health of the Club.  And he was right to do so: he would be immensely proud and pleased if he could see it today, fifty years after its inception.

1976 – 1978   (From Alan’s Diaries):    


The traditional New Year Errigal climb was postponed due to poor weather until the 11th.   In the event the weather had not improved much, as one of the 3 that braved the North West Ridge had to retire to Letterkenny hospital for stitches, having been blown off the ridge.

9th March.  Joey’s 83rd. ascent of Errigal, a fact he disclosed in the Londonderry Sentinel as ‘Sportsman of the Week’ in the following week’s edition.

4th April. The club’s 21st anniversary was celebrated with a dinner at Roneragh House Fahan, after climbing Bulben on Inishowen..

Easter trip was to Glencoe, camping, hostelling or B.& B.   Met Slievedore M.C. on the summit of Bidean.

23rd May. President’s mystery tour cancelled as the President has disappeared!

June. Club weekend in the Mournes

August. Group in Kerry.

10th Oct. Joint NWMC & NUUMC meet in Ballycastle.

9th November. Joey murdered.

After church service at St. Peters, Joey’s ashes are scattered on Errigal.

Also a service is held by the Irish Ramblers at Glencree Wicklow, attended by some NWMC members.



27th March. AGM after walk on Murren Hills Fanad.

Easter Trip to Skye.

In July a group in Connemara climbing Carrot Ridge.

Sept.  Group in Arran.


New Years Day. 20 on Errigal

5th March. 14 NWMC members on Garron Point, Co.Antrim

12th March.  7 on Carnaween

19th.March.  AGM in Milford Hotel.

Easter Trip to the Trossachs, staying in forestry cottages at Strathyre.  Members Kate, Patrick, Maurice, Dennis, John,Trevor, Josephine, Betsy, Kathleen, Ruth, Freezie, Alan, Martin Manson*, Jimmy Tees*, Muriel, Irene, Mary , James Logan*    (*Non members).

June. 2 members to Canadian Rockies

5th & 6th Aug. Four do the North Mayo Coastal Walk to Benwee Head.

(Dennis leaving to take up a job in Africa)

Oct 15th. Largest NWMC party ever, 36 on Dooish (led by Patrick). Chaos!

Nov. Joint meet with Bannside Ramblers on Crockanaffrin.

1979   (from the first Club Journal)

During the past year N.W.M.C. were as usual, active every Sunday visiting old haunts and the occasional new one. It would not be practical to list all outings therefore I propose to deal only with those of note in the following account.

With the new year came the big freeze-up followed by snow, and members were frenziedly scraping the rust off, and evicting the woodworm from ice axes, but to no avail. The superb snow and ice conditions prevailing on the mountain were surpassed by those on the Donegal roads, and after some hair-raising journeys, the snow climbing was somewhat of an ‘ANTI-CLIMB-AXE’. However good days in the snow were had at Muckish, Aghla, Perrin Gully on Barnesmore, and at Glendalough by two members who attended the F.M.C.I.  A.G.M.

In March the St. Patrick’s weekend trip to Wicklow became snowbound in several of the nightclubs in Dublin, whilst two other members managed to climb Carrauntoohil and Mangerton in Kerry with Fearghorta Mountaineering Club during an eventful minibus trip.

The Club’s 24th Annual General Meeting took place at the Hylands Hotel, Glenties where the following officers were elected. Chairman – Trevor Hughes, Secretary – Maurice Simms, Treasurer – Norma Lyttle.

Professor Warner became, in April, the first person to cover the “Ulster Way” in its entirety, and despite the poor weather and the journalists, he managed the 491 miles in 35 days. The Easter trip was not as ambitious as usual due to lack of cash, but Connemara must have some considerable attraction to bring Dennis Golden all the way back from the flesh pots of Tanzania.  During the long weekend Croaghpatrick, Mweelrea, Ben Creggan, and Ben Gorm were bagged.

In May there was a short spell of frenzied rock climbing activity at a new crag in Port-a-Doris. About 15 routes were “put up” mostly by Alan Tees and Richard ‘Changabang’ Smith ranging from MOD to H.SEV.

In June Kate Christie, Patrick Simms, Richard Groves, and Alan Tees completed to Bluestack Ridge in 19 hours (hiking) from Biddy O’Barnes to Glenties, camping overnight at Lough Belshade. Eleven summits were taken in.

Patrick Simms and Gerry Foley’s book “Irish Walk Guide” to the North West made its appearance in the bookshops but has since become unavailable due to a fire at the stockists in Dublin. In the interim however it sold some 3000 copies.

July saw the first club wedding for some time when the Secretary Maurice Simms finally relinquished bachelorhood and married his fiancé Akke. The ceremony took place in Holland. During a rare dry spell several more rock routes were established on Muckish.

August saw Mary Jones on a snow and ice course in Austria, Richard Smith rock climbing in Wales, Martin Manson in France, Patrick Simms cycling and hill walking in Northern Scotland, Alan Tees and Raymond Lee, with Uel Hamilton of SMT completing some classic mountaineering routes in cental Scotland. Also young Stephen Harpur won himself a three week outward bound course in the Lake District, by acquitting himself well in the R.U.C. sponsored ‘Sperrin Ramble’.

In September the 1st Glover Marathon took place in the Donegal Highlands and passed off with only a few minor hitches. Among the entries there were participants from 6 other clubs and a new record time of 3hours 20 minutes was set up. Further afield Dennis Golden climbed Kilimanjaro (19,000’) which is to be the club’s objective in the summer of 1980.

Altan Farm on Glover Day

October’s activities were mostly hill walking but a new route was put up in Strabane Glen on John Cunningham’s crag by Alan Tees and Richard Smith – ‘RIGOR MORTIS’ H.S. – V.S. The club also enjoyed a fine day’s abseiling and climbing at Marble Hill with SMT.

In November the club’s second wedding took place between Elaine Kelly and Jim Urquhart (who are also members of the Bannside Ramblers).

A number of members in December made the journey southwards to assist the Dublin Ramblers with their Christmas festivities. Judging by the state in which the party arrived home, the expedition would appear to have been successful!

The Exhilarating Eighties. (Dave Southall)

First 24hr Irish Munro attempt


Nineteen Eighty marked a milestone, when the Club reached its 25th Anniversary. The Jubilee was celebrated by a Bar-B-Q at Bill and Kate Fyffe’s house in Port-na-Blagh on Saturday  3rd May. Incoherence, possibly resulting from intoxication the previous evening, enabled 25 members to ignore the danger signals, such as overflowing gunwhales – while still tied up at the quay ?!! – and a gale warning, to venture to Toraigh. As all the members’ names appear in the Journal that followed, it is assumed that all survived, although tales of that harrowing adventure grow taller with the passing years.

Much activity was focused on fund raising for other 25th Anniversary celebrations: In February fund raising began for the commemorative expedition to Mt Kenya. In these days of charity walks to the likes of the Great Wall of China, six months seems a ludicrously short period to raise the required amount. The group comprising Alan and Jimmy Tees, Patrick Simms, Stephen and Andy Birkett and Rodney Smith of the Strand Mountaineering Team climbed several peaks in the Mt Kenya massif, reaching 16262 feet on Point Lenana in late August.

In the winter of that year Dennis Golden brought home the deerskin of the animal ’rescued’ from the Poisoned Glen in an inaugural training meet of the North West Mountain Rescue Team. His Bottom-sorry his Puck- was authentically portrayed  at Fancy Dress Parties for several years after.


In 1981 Patrick Simms took over the responsibility for the Journal from Alan Tees, literally typing, cutting and pasting all the articles himself. Patrick held the post of Editor and Publisher until 1987. That year the Journal records possibly the event of the decade with, to quote, ‘an interesting trip across Clew Bay to Clare Island, and some members reached the summit of Nephin in mist on the return journey’ adding walking on water to the diverse activities of the club.

Easter trips were to Kintail in Wester Ross and Connemara, while in June Alan Tees, Paul Marshall and Dave Southall completed the Mourne Wall Walk. The deerskin put in an appearance at the Midsummers Night’s Dream Bar-B-Q at Patrick’s.  The Tees and the Marshalls climbed in the Pyrenees and Maurice and Akke Simms traversed Canada while Ann Spencer from the Wayfarers joined Patrick and Dennis on a two-week jaunt around the Scottish Highlands in July. In the Autumn, Patrick and Brendan Twomey took a ‘Ramblers’ Holiday to Turkey. Dave Southall’s cousins Chris and Robert Wray were helping to establish rock climbing in Strabane Glen with Alan Tees while Richard Smith made a winter traverse of the Aonach Eagagh Ridge in a snow storm.


Patrick’s editorial for 1982 comments on the concern expressed at an FMCI council meeting at ‘the vast numbers creating heavy pressure by some of the organised walks’. 

Easter was spent in glorious weather in the Glen of Agherlow, with treks on the Comeragh, Knockmealdown and Galty Mountains.

In May Paul Probst completed the London Marathon after what must be the most boring training regime of all time- running around an oil drilling platform off Nigeria. Dave  Southall finished the Belfast Marathon the same month.

Another marathon runner that year, in Derry, was the clubs only honorary life member, Prof. Alan Warner, the first person to complete an uninterrupted circuit of the Ulster Way. Alan was 70 that year, celebrating his birthday by walking the ‘Inis Eoin 100’.

Further afield the Probsts were in Yosemite, Stephen Birkett in Nepal, Victor Russell in Lesotho and Maurice and Akke Simms in Corfu.

In August  Dave  completed a one day 32 mile solo traverse of the Lairig Ghru”, Glen Derry and the Lairigh an Laoigh in the Cairngorms.

In September nine year old Bonny Pailing romped the Glover Marathon, inspiring the children of the Portrush ‘mafia’ to follow her footsteps the following year.

The second ‘coffee table’ book on hill walking, Richard Gilberts’ ‘Classic Walks’ was published, featuring the Aghla-Errigal Horseshoe with illustrations supplied by Patrick, while TGO contained an article on Donegal’s 2000’ers entitled ‘The Hills of Donegal’ by Peter Wilson from the New University of Ulster.

‘The Irish Peaks’, a compilation of the ‘Irish Walk Guides’ edited by Joss Lynam, with 8 routes described by Patrick arrived in October. Alan Tees’ ‘Guide to Strabane Glen Climbs’ appeared in print, as did the first ‘Rock Scene’ rock-climbing review in the Club Journal, written by Alan ever since.

The ‘cruciform’ stone shelter, still a welcome refuge at the summit of Muckish , was constructed by club members in December.


1983 saw the Glover Marathon change its name to ‘Highlander’ to avoid confusion with the ‘road running’ events increasingly popular at the time.

In March, Patrick Simms and Richard Smith made snow-covered ascents of nine Munros in Glencoe. The Easter meet took place in Killarney, when  the Lough Acoose Horseshoe of  Caher, Carrauntohill and Beenkeeragh was completed, the Ridge of the Reeks traversed, and  Dave Southall’s first ascent, in mist, of what has since become his favourite mountain, Brandon.

Highlights of the summer were Alan Tees’ ascent of Mt Elbert (14333’) in the Canadian Rockies, Mary Jones’ ascent of the Glossglockner (12461’) in the Austrian Tirol, and a night-time traverse of the Glover by Alan and Brendan Twomey in July.

In September, Claire and Chris Probst, Jenny Southall, and Caitlin, Sorcha and Manus McMahon, all pre-teenagers, proved their capabilities, by dragging their parents the length of the Glover.


The following year can be summed up as the ‘Year of the Big Walks’

Alan Tees and Victor Russel completed the Sperrin Skyway in May with Kate Christie, Margaret Pailing and Phillip Gormley following in their footsteps a week later. Kate and Phillip also did a two day hike from Teelin, via Slieve League, Glencolumkille, Port and Slieve Tooey, to Maghera. Paul Probst and Dave Southall hiked the newly designated Moyle Way from Glenariff to Ballycastle. Alan Tees and Paul Marshall made the first ascent of Mt Blanc by members of NWMC

The event of the year however, was the first attempt at the ascent of all the Irish Munroes by an eight-person party from the Club.

While the NWMC had enjoyed many sojourns into Glenveagh, courtesy of the County Sherriff’s (Brendan Twomey) connection in previous years, 1984 also saw the opening of the Glenveagh National Park.


1985 marked the 30th Anniversary of the Club with 42 members celebrating the event at the Highlands Hotel in March. The walk on Slieve League took place on probably the best day of a year when atrocious weather was exemplified by a frozen Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall in the Eglish Valley in February and by the fact that only 29 finished the Glover, out of 53 entrants. Many summer meets were abandoned. Easter had seen the first visit to the Lake District in 10 years, to Hartsop Fold by Ullswater. Dennis, Patrick and Dave Southall spent an energetic long week-end in Connemara doing the Maamturks Walk, and the Sheefry Hills, followed by a two-day hike from Little Killary to Maam Bridge via the Kylemore Hills, the Twelve Bens and the Western Way. Alan, Paul Marshall along with Dave Hyndman subbed 24 hours for the Irish Munros, the two former climbing in the eastern Pyrenees in June. Dennis and Patrick completed the GR 20 on Corsica the same month.

On the social scene, Dave Hadden marked his year in the Chair by marrying Lucille. Arran Southall arrived in October, Peter Tees the following February.


While the club was active in all the usual local haunts the paucity of contributions to the Journal for 1986 reflected few sorties abroad. Notable were Phillip Gormley’s trip to the Dolomites, Alan and Jimmy Tees with Paul Marshall and Robert Roulston on the Cuillins of Skye and Patrick in Andorra.

In June, Margaret Pailing and Paul Probst completed the Irish Munros in under 24 hours, finishing, in failing light, on Brandon.

The calendar year which had opened with a New Year ‘Miss North West Mountaineering Club’ Party at the Probsts in Portrush, finished with Brendan Twomey’s housewarming on Horn Head in December.


Oh Dear! If the 1986 Journal was thin, 1987’s was positively anorexic, with a ‘full back’ (Thank God!) nude image of PJS, the highlight!?. The editor, (PJS) whose term as editor and publisher mysteriously ceased after this issue, was dredging the depths with a two page spread on what the well prepared Hillwalker should carry; an article from the February ’87 issue of Wayfarers Newsletter, plagiarised in its entirety and a hastily scrambled ‘essential requirements for Mt Blanc’ penned by A.T.  Even the normal ‘slightly thicker paper’ which had bound previous issues had been dispensed with.

Rising above this ‘bottom of the barrel’ was Margaret Pailing’s account of her hike with John Voller along the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fortwilliam. Probably uniquely, for an account of this walk done in July, no mention was made of the vicious and ubiquitous ‘midgee’. James Finnegan completed the Dublin Marathon.


The final two years of the decade were halcyon days for the Club. Thank Goodness-otherwise this article would have finished here.

On the Crib Goch ridge Snowdon

Easter 1988 saw a large contingent head for Snowdonia where master linguist Seamus McMahon tried to involve the party in the mysteries of double ‘d’s’ and triple ‘l’s.’ In all 13 of the 14 Welsh Munros were ascended including the Snowdon Horseshoe (thrice), Tryfan, The Glyders, along with the Nantille Ridge and other minor peaks. While the star in the ascendancy (literally) on the trip was John McGroddy, the surprise of the week occurred on Carnedd Dafydd, when the main party traversing the Carneddau Ridge, comprising 7 Munro peaks, encountered Seamus and Hilja McMahon who had opted out of the main walk. Seamus, using skills learned earlier in the week, had navigated there in a white out. These skills were not to last however, as some years later while leading a group of Irish students from the University of Ulster he found himself benighted, minus the group, on the wrong side of the Bluestacks, his ‘sheep’ successfully making their own way home.

In May a strong party went to Connemara for the Maamturks Walk and Eunan Bonner, Gertrude Meehan, Jarlath Lee, John McGroddy, Kate Christie and Michael Chance completed the Mourne Wall Walk. Kate and John later did a ‘round’ of the Donegal ‘2000’ers.

The summer of ’88 saw a mass exodus of members to all points of the compass: Kevin Brogan: Peru; Brendan Twomey: USA; Ann Shannon: Turkey; Dennis Golden: Tuscany and Umbria; Patrick Simms and Rory Canavan: Majorca; Nicky Hore: the Himalaya.

Alan Tees along with Paul Marshall and Paul Robinson were forced off the west ridge of the Eiger by bad weather, within a thousand feet of the summit. Nearer home Margaret Pailing and John Voller walked from St Bee’s Head to Robin Hood’s Bay – the English Coast to Coast Walk, while nearer home, Eunan Bonner made his 100th ascent of Errigal. Wonder what the tally is now?

Research for this article has answered a question often asked of Dave Southall when leading groups from Glencolumbkille to Port, ‘Has anyone ever traversed the Sturral?’: Gareth Colhoun and Alan Tees did so in August, following in the footsteps of NWMC members in 1955.

In September, another 9 year old, Christopher Tees, completed the Glover.

The final trip overseas that year was the first of three visits to Plockton, on the Scottish mainland just north of Skye. While most of the party went ‘overseas’ to this destination, Kevin Deery and Dennis Golden flew from Eglinton. Plockton was chosen for its central location between Skye and Torridon, giving rise to Dennis’s eternal joke (yawn) that the Club should meet in the Isle of Man due to its central location between the Mournes, Wicklow, Snowdonia, Argyle and Cumbria.


And so, finally to 1989.

The AGM for 1989 reprised 1985 with dinner in the ‘Highlands’ and a walk on Slieve League in the snow at the end of February. Snow was also the order of the day for the Easter trip to The Central Highlands of Scotland based at Tummel Bridge Holiday Park below the north-east slopes of Schiehallion. Poor weather at the start of the week kept the walks at a low profile, contouring the slopes of Meall nan Tarmachan on Day 1, a walk along Loch Ericht shore to the haunted bothy of Ben Alder Cottage on Day 2 and sightseeing on Day 3. Day 4 however provided ideal weather for climbing conical Schiehallion and the descent allowed the practising of ice axe arrests. Highlight of the week was traversing the iced plateau of Beinn A’ Ghlo on the summit aptly named, for some of the party, Braigh Coire Cruinn bhlagain or ‘the upland of the corry of little round blisters’.

In May Eunan Bonner put up the fastest time for the Maamturks Walk, that year.

In July Alan Tees et al explored the Verdon Gorge, climbing Montagne des Agneaux.

Margaret and John added the scalp of the Pennine Way to their belts, while in July James Finnegan walked the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu.

Mountain biking made its first appearance in Club activities when A.T. and Gareth Colhoun cycled the North Antrim Forest Challenge in August.

Technology arrived on the scene with the introduction of walkie-talkies on the Glover, courtesy of William McAusland.

Despite Dennis’s protestations, due to the success of the previous year, a party of 20 plus, including the aforementioned thrifty Scot, descended on Plockton in November.

On the journey an overnight stop was made by the vanguard at Crianlarich SYH.Seamus McMahon added to the Irish vocabulary of Dennis, Margaret, and myself in the form of some very well chosen words on a foggy, rain soaked ascent of Ben More, Crianlarich. To protect the guilty and not offend the innocent these are not reprinted here. During the week a section of the Cluanie Ridge was traversed, Ben Alligin, sans upper garments was climbed to witness Brocken Spectres, The Cuillin of Skye, ascended by some and inspected from below by others, and two separate ascents of Torridonian giant, Liathach. As far as is known the only recorded viewing of the Aurora Borealis by Club members was made during the week.

During a very productive decade, at home and overseas, Club membership never strayed much above or below 50, with only 15 of those members listed in 1989 remaining active with the club today. Despite seeming to the contrary, this implies a regular introduction of new members to the NWMC on an annual basis. It is hoped that recording activities of this decade and others of the first 50 years of the clubs history will provide some inspiration for those who will follow over the next 50 and beyond.

Membership at the Beginning of the Decade:

Arrowsmith, KatFyffe, Bill & KateMarshall, PaulRingland, Brian
Birkett, StevenGolden, DennisMcAteer, CyrilRoulston, Robert
Boner, EunanGormley, PhilipMarshall, PaulRussell, Victor
Brogan, KevinHadden, DaveMcAteer, CyrilRingland, Brian
Canavan, RoryHegarty, JosephineMcAusland, Wil’amRoulston, Robert
Chance, MichaelHelion, LiamMcCaul, SusanRussell, Victor
Christie, KathleenHenderson, RobertMcGroddy, JohnSammon, Anne-Marie
Clifford, BreigeHore, NickyMcHugh, TonyShannon, Ann
Cosgrove, EmerHosford, DesMeehan, GertrudeSimms, Maurice&Akke
Cullen, MarieHosty, JuneMorrison, Cora, UnaSimms, Patrick
Deery, KevinLyttle, John & NormaO’Donnell, PaulineSouthall, Dave
Diver, SeamusJohnston BrendanO’Hare, JohnTees, Alan & Irene
Finnegan, JamesLacey, NatPailing, MargaretTwomey, Brendan
Finnerty, SeanLee, JarlathProbst, Paul & PamWarner, Alan
Fox, SiobhanListon, DavidQuigley, Orla 


Easter trip to the Lake District; Patrick Simms’ 50th birthday party (‘This is Your Life!’) at Malin Beg; Jarlath Lee and Eunan Boner set good times at the Maamturks Walk; Midsummer bonfire on Gola, reported on local radio; Inishowen 2-day cycle trip and Bluestacks Cycle Traverse; first Club T-shirts produced; Mountain Leadership training started by some members; Dennis Golden led walks in Madeira; Alan Tees climbed in the Picos; Margaret Pailing walked Offas Dyke; Kevin Deery in the Bernese Oberland and the Pyrenees; Steven Birkett in the Ardeche; John McGroddy in the Rockies; Marie Cullen visited China; Gertrude Meehan and Nicky Hore climbed Mont Blanc.  Patrick Simms and Margaret Coote got married.

The first Scottish Hallow’een Trip to Ullapool, October/November 1990, set a pattern for the rest of the decade, with a group of twelve or so, booking into three or four self-catering chalets.

Navigation exercise in the Sliabh Liag area


Club navigation weekend Malinmore Centre, organised by Barry Dalby from Wicklow; several members attended rockclimbing and ML courses; St. Patrick’s Day cycle around Lough Gill; Easter in Kerry; Midsummer camping on Rutland & Eighter; James Finnegan walked in the foothills of the Himalayas, north of Manali, in India; Simms Cycle Tour to Errigal; Kevin Deery ski-mountaineering in Silvetta; Alan Tees climbed Les Barres d’Ecrin; Margaret Pailing and Brendan Johnston went to the Pyrenees; Sean Finnerty in Oregon; Nicky Hore and Gertrude climbed in the Atlas Mountains; Inishowen 100 2 day Cycle Tour; Hallow’een Trip to Fortwilliam.

New members from 1991 – 5

Boner, FionaKelly, MaeveO’Conner, CarolineWray, Alison
Boyle, RichardMeehan, CelineO’Hagan, Lucy 
Herman, MargaretMorriarty, SeamusReilly, Livinia 
Johnston, BrianMorrow, EithneWatson, Anne 


Margaret Pailing, Dennis Golden, and Brian Johnston snow and ice-climbing in Torridan; Easter Trip in Kerry, Kenmare; Kevin Deery ski-mountaineeriang in the Oztac Alps; Margaret Pailing , Dave Southall, Brian Johnston, Nicky Hore and Patrick Simms backpacked into Knoydart and Glendessary; members attended reception for successful Irish Everest attempt at Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle; Alan Tees climbed the Marmolada in the Dolomites; Brendan Twomey trekked to Annapurna Sanctuary; Margaret Pailing and Brian Johnston completed Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites; Sean Finnerty went round the world; Dawson Stelfox, Dermot Somers and Robby Fenlon presented the Everest Slide Show in Derry; members saw presentation by Joe Simpson at the MCI October Weekend in Glengarrif.

The Glover Marathon/Highlander

Started 1955 –

Did Joey ever do it? Club records indicate that he ‘facilitated’ many others in the masochistic event, but strangely, Joey is never mentioned as a participant! When I joined the Club in 1973 it was a test piece for young tigers, annual Club jaunt usually in June.

Following Joey’s untimely death in 1976 a cairn was erected on Errigal and the Club decided to look at the possibility of running it as an invitation event, on the lines of the Maumturks Walk, in his memory and as a community reconciliation event, in what were dark days in the North.

The first ‘Marathon’ took place in 1978, with an entry of 38, from six different Clubs, and an astounding time set by Dennis Rankin and Jim Patterson of 3 hours 20 minutes (admittedly timed from the base of Muckish to the summit of Errigal). It was a trial run and went reasonably well so it was decided it should happen annually in September, on the second Saturday.

In 1980 the entry increased to 90 and the absolutely appalling weather conditions ensured that only 38 hardy souls finished. Yellow badges were issued.

Walk renamed Glover Highlander due to confusion with 26 Mile Run ‘fad’.
198280Glorious. Youngest finisher Bonny Pailing (9)
1983117 (107)Fine
198551Wet and windy
198666Bright and sunny
198789Windy and clear. No big groups
1988108Year of the Fog
1989135Good.  Walkie-talkies introduced
1990 Poor. Andrew Tees finished (8)
1991189 (160)Clear, but very windy
1992169 (139)Evening meal in McFaddens, Gortahork
1993175Poor, improving
1994210 (185)Fine
1996316Format changed to start and finish at Dunlewey
1997306 (340)Squally, improving
1998206 (136)Appalling but mainly clear
1999177Wet, cleared in the afternoon, evening meal in McFadden’s
2000220 (90%)Fine day, Dennis Rankin and Jim Brown finished in under 4 hours
2001210 (90%)Good weather
2002249 (20%)Gloriously sunny day
2003236 (199)Fine day


Snow and Ice group in Lochaber; first February trip to the Lake District; Easter Trip to Westport; Club’s 40th anniversary dinner at the Broomhill Hotel in May; visit by Perth MC (past NWMC member Raymond Lee as President); Midsummer Midnight ascent of Errigal; Missummer camping on Gola; Lorna Glover’s visit, and climb to view the Glover memorial (Lorna donated money to Club which was later designated to support for mountain training); Fiona Boner in the Pyrenees; John Stewart did the Haute Route in Corsica; Brendan Johnston, Gertrude & Celine Meehan, Rory Canavan and William McAusland do the Alta Via 2 in the Dolomites; Hallow’een trip to Kinlochewe. Dennis Golden gained his ML Award. Nicky Hore and Rita Connell got married. Oliver Kennedy, Club Secretary in 1971, died in an accident, Margaret Herman died after a long illness and Alan Warner also died.


Snow and ice-climbing groups in Glencoe and Killen; Easter in Mayo; Margaret Pailing and Gertrude Meehan munro-bagging in Glen Affric; Midsummer camping on Rutand; Fiona Boner and Mary Mcgarvey trekking in Peru; Margaret Pailing and Gertrude Meehan did Haute Route in Corsica; Dennis Golden and William McAusland in the Dolomites; Alan Tees climbing in Majorca; Hollow’een Trip to Ullapool. James Finnegan and Livinia Reilly got married. Margaret Pailing, Gertrude Meehan, Alan Tees and Dennis Golden travelled to Tralee over St. Patrick’s weekend . . .


Snow and ice-climbing in Fortwilliam; Easter Trips, Alan and Irene Tees in Dingle for Alan’s last Irish Corbett, Margaret Pailing in West Cork, Gertrude and Brian Ringland in Connemara; Midsummer camping on Owey; Nicky Hore, Gertrude and Brian Ringland, Celine Meehan, Margaret Pailing trekked in Peru; Alan Tees and Margaret Pailing climbed the Paps of Jura; Brian Johnston and Marie Cullen climbed in Yosemite and Mt. Whitney; Michael Chance, Mary Blaney, Brendan Johnston, Tony Kelly in West Cork; Hallow’een Trip to Skye and Glencoe. Brian Ringland and Gertrude Meehan got married. The death occurred of Irene Tees.

Membership at the End of the Decade:

Baillie, RichardFinnegan, James&LiviniaMcAusland, WilliamRegan, Paul & Mary
Bergin, Morriarty S&MFyffe, Bill & KateMcCaul, SusanRingland, Brian&Gertrude
Boner, FionaGolden DennisMcCusker, BridRussell, Victor
Boyle, Pat & AnneGormley, PhilipMcGarvey, MarySimms, Maurice&Akke
Brown, KenHadden, DaveMcTeague, KateSmith, Tony
Canavan, RoryHegarty, JosephineMeehan, CelineSouthall, Dave
Cahill, BernieHore, NickyMeenagh, BunnyTees, Alan
Carlin, JohnHosford, DesMurphy, Liam & AnneThompson, Ruth
Chance, MichaelJohnston, Brendanni Dhomhnaill, PadraiginTwomey, Brendan
Christie, KathleenJohnston, Brianni Bhron, Marie 
Cullen, MarieKelly, TonyO’Hare John 
Deery, KevinLargey, Paddy&EithnePailing, Margaret 


The New Millennium was celebrated by the traditional ascent of Errigal. Brendan Johnston, Michael Chance & Tony Kelly completed Glover Walk and both groups converged on top of Errigal; Alan elected to MCI Executive Committee; Feburary/March winter trips to the Bridge of Orchy and the Lake District; Easter trip to Connemara.

The MCI May Meet was in Bantry, West Cork, and there were island trips to Tory, Inishmurray and Rathlin throughout the summer; Alan & Margaret went to Bernese Oberland, (Climbing the Monch, Jungfrau and Dossen Horn); Brian & Gertrude went climbing in the Rockies; Nicky & Rita to Thailand; Brendan Johnston in South Africa and Pat & Anne Boyle went trekking in Spain.

NWMC meet on Inishkeel

The New Millennium was celebrated by the traditional ascent of Errigal. Brendan Johnston, Michael Chance & Tony Kelly completed Glover Walk and both groups converged on top of Errigal; Alan elected to MCI Executive Committee; Feburary/March winter trips to the Bridge of Orchy.

In October the NWMC hosted the MCI weekend in Glenties; Halloween trip to Clachtoll by Lochinver, (Alan, Margaret, Gertrude, Brian and Dave Southall);   Michael Chance went to Ethopia.

The Christmas party was in Castlegrove House; Dennis went to Vercors and Oisins, Marie to the Picos in Spain and Gertrude, Brian, James & Livinia Climbed in deep snow in Kerry; an early attempt was made by Maeve Kelly, Michael Chance & Brendan Johnston at the Glover as thaw was forecast for New Year’s day.


New Year’s day pincer attack on Errigal, from tourist track and NW ridge; Feburary  saw a group in Fort William ice climbing and Munro bagging and an alternative group in the Lake District. In March Marie & Brian met up with Wayfarers in Majorca; Dennis was in Sicily.

Alan & Margaret on honeymoon in Greece, climbing Mounts Olympus and Parnassus; William went climbing in Alpujurras but did not meet with Ken Brown & Tony Smith who were there at the same time; Fiona, Josephine, Pat & Rory continue exodus to Alpujurras and climb Mulhacen the highest peak in Spain. Dennis went to Scotland and the Island trip was to Fiona’s Cottage, Arranmore .

In July Alan & Margaret were in Colorado and California climbing Maroon Belle, Longs Peak, half Dome and Mt Whitney; Fiona & Marie hut walked in Austria and Kate, Michael and Brendan explored Scottish Isles by bike; Dennis was in Austria and Switzerland.

September saw Anne and Liam Murphy in Majorca and the Holloween Trip to Kintail bagged a number of Munros, despite unremittingly wet weather.

2002  (International Year of the Mountains)

2002 started in fine style, with a group braving icy roads to climb Errigal’s North West Ridge in superb Alpine conditions. Just to cap the experience, the ‘Brocken Spectre’ made a brief appearance on the summit. The following week Alan Tees and Bill Magowan spent seven days at the Peglar Ice Fest, climbing frozen waterfalls in the French Alps. The usual 20 or so ‘Amblesiders’ went to the lakes, in February,  staying in Southwaite Mill and two other groups, unaware of each others presence in Braemar, met unexpectedly descending in the dark from Lochnagar.

The AGM was at the Highlands Hotel in Glenties; on the 7 March a superbly organised slide show by Dennis, Josephine and Pat Bradley was held in the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry. Frank Nugent kept the audience spellbound by the story of the first Irish ‘North West Passage’ expedition. A joint NWMC and Colmcille Climbers expedition was in Fortwilliam, climbing with Lochaber mountain rescue guru Brian McDennott and an actor from the BBC TV series ‘Rockface’; Dave Hadden and Margaret Tees were Munro bagging and on the same trip, and Brian Johnson and Ronnie Smith climbed Point Five Gully; a group of the Amblesiders spent St. Patrick’s weekend on Achill Island, and Marie went to Glen EIg in Scotland, at Easter, with the Wayfarers; Alan Tees’ new rockclimbing guide to Donegal made its appearance to mixed reviews, and a group of the club’s hillwalkers went to Connemara basing themselves in the Inagh valley.

May Bank Holiday weekend was in the Burren; Brian and Gertrude were in Scotland bagging Munros and Maire, Brian, Pat & Ann Boyle, Liam, Josephine, Pat Bradley and Michael were in the Mournes. The Jubilee weekend trip to Kerry was based at the campsite in Fossa, Killarney, and the group had fine weather for the Glenbeigh Horseshoe, Carrantoohil by the Heavenly gates (and Howling Ridge) and Brandon, Brandon Peak, Eastern Reeks and Mangerton. Fiona, Josephine, Brendan Johnston, Rory and Pat Bradley went to Majorca.

The weather continued wet, but a hardy band braved appalling conditions to honour the memory of past members Patrick and Irene at the formal Wine and Cheese under the overhangs at Muckish. Gertrude was in Scotland for three  weeks with Brian, finally doing the Aonach Eagach Ridge and Dennis was in Moidart, Skye and the Trossachs.

In July and August Alan and Margaret went to Crete for a week during which they climbed Gingolos and descended the SaMaria gorge; Nicky and Rita did the ‘Tour de Mont Blanc’ and Dave Southall took a group from the Apalachian Mountain Club to Arran, Scotland, for a week. Andrew Tees was in the Alps with an international youth group as part of the ‘Youth on the Move’ Initiative. The IYM planned landing on the great sea stack at Tor Mor was frustrated by gales.

Gertrude went to the Julian Alps with Bernie Kelly, where amongst other things they climbed Triglav. The Tees/Pailing team attended the Cairngorm midge and drizzle festival with a five day feast of backpacking, slapping and scratching. James and Livinia climbed Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine and another group spent the Bank Holiday in Connemara climbing Mweelrea and walking in the Bens.

The 2002 Glover enjoyed superb weather, with a huge crowd of around 240 appreciating the best conditions in years. Brian and Marie spent seven days in the Dolomites on Alta Via 11 whist Dennis was on Alta Via I and Josephine in the Grand Canyon; Alan went to North Wales on a classic rock climbing sortie.

Fiona, Josephine and Michael went to Italy and at the Amalfi coast they did the ‘Stairway of the Gods’ between Priano and Positano, Monte Faito (1l31m), Vesuvius, and apparently the 900 Phoenician steps to the top of Anacapri. Rory was in Vietnam and Alan and Margaret went to Nepal with Doug Scott’s Community Action trekking company. During the month they visited Gokyo Lakes, climbed Gokyo Ri and Kalar Pattar, reached Everest base camp and climbed Island Peak.

In November Michael, Tony, Pat Bradley, Kate, Marie and Fintan were in the Ox Mounains and lived to tell tales of man (and woman)-eating bogs. A jolly Christmas abseil down Bearnas Buttress provided more excitement than expected when the group(no names mentioned) were almost benighted, and rumours of crawling about in the dark, survival bags and desperate whistling in the wilderness were not altogether unfounded. Fiona, Kate, Michael, Rory and Josephine were in the Mournes.

Dennis was in Glen Nevis and Brian and Gertrude spent Christmas in Kerry. To finish off the year the Tees/McGuigan group went to Arrocher in pursuit of a Munro.


The usual New Year’s day ascent of Errigal (Tony Kelly doing his usual Glover), Dennis Golden on Ben Nevis and Stob Bahn. Alan and Margaret attended Blaney Ramblers 10th Anniversary celebrations in Castleblayney. Alan, Margaret, Dave Hadden and the McGuigans went to Ullapool for snow and ice climbing; alternative group went to the  Lake District. Alan, Margaret and the McGuigans also in the Lake District, later on, for St Patricks Day, climb­ing Napes Needle and Glaramara. Dennis Hawke went walking in Andalusia. Rory in Japan. Sean and Aidan climbed Ben Nevis. Dennis Golden in Glencoe.

Margaret and Alan spent a week canoeing, backpacking and Munro bagging in the Monar Hills and Loch Quoich area in May and Fiona, Josephine, Marie, Brian, Anne McCrea, Brid English, the Boyles, Fintan, Michael and Kate went to the Burren. Dave Southall guided a Canadian group on the Causeway Coast and Glens, Isle of Man and the Mournes.

MCI Meet in Carlingford was attended by Dennis Golden,  Alan and Margaret. Bluestack Traverse completed by Tony Smith, Ken Brown, Don O’Donnell, Dennis Hawke, Columba McLaughlin, Michael Chance, Brian Johnston, Aiden, Sean, Rory, Anthony and Livinia.

In June James and Lavinia were in Connemara and Fiona, Josephine, Pat Bradley, Rory, Seamus Moriarty and Anne Bonner went walking in Spain. Walks included Cadaques to Roses along the coast, La Villajuiga to Llanca visiting the Monastery of St Pere de Rhodes and the castle old Saint Salvador. An attempt to climb Canigou in the French Pyrenees abandoned due to bad weather. Mid-summer camps on Rutland, Gola and at Port. Dennis Golden in Dolomites.

Events later in the summer included Toni McKenna in the Dolomites;  Alan and Margaret cycled and walked in North Mayo, camping on Ben Wee Head; Sean and Aiden on the Comeraghs; BBQ on Cruit Island organised by Michael; Alan, Margaret, Andrew and the McGuigans camped and climbed in Zermatt (some managing the Matterhorn while others did 6 days on the Haute Route). Alan and Margaret also cycled to Arran (Scotland) camping ands climbing Sou-Wester Slabs and South Ridge Direct.

Gertrude in Dolomites with Bernie Kelly; Club weekend in Glen­columbcille including boat trip from Malinbeg to Teelin on the Sunday. A group backpacked the West Highland Way in 6 days, driven by midges.

At the 22nd Glover there were 240 entrants. Dennis Golden was in the Ardennes. Dennis Golden and Margaret and Alan Tees attended MCI October weekend in Clifden, crossing KiI­lary Harbour to climb Mweelrea from north shore. Alan and Margaret in Sardinia, climbing in the Gennagentu, and Monte Corassi in the Supra Monte. Fiona, Josephine, Kate, Michael, Rory and Pat Bradley spent a week on Elba, climbing Monte Capanne.

In November William trekked in Pakistan and Burma picking up his luggage in Bangkok. In December Dennis Golden went skiing in the Dolomites and later Arochar and Oban. Alan and M bagging snowy mountains in Scotland.



Alan Tees Ice Climbing in the Alps.


Fiona, Josephine, Kate, Marie, Ruth, Brian J, Michael, Paul, Seamus in Lake District


Josephine, Kate, Michael and Tony K. Weekend in Antrim Glens.

Pat Bradley returned from Kirkistan.


Fiona, Josephine, Vera, Rory, Dennis G. and Tony K. Easter in Achill.

Sean Mc Gragh in Prague.

Anne and Pat Boyle in Portugal.

Don travelled for 6 weeks in Thailand, New Zealand and Honolulu.

Fiona weekended in Lucerne.

James & Livinia in Doolin.

Toni completed border trek.


Margaret bagged final Munro. 


Brian Ringland bags final Munro, Corbett and Graham.

Margaret & Alan in Lofoten Islands, Norway.

Fiona, Josephine, Pat, Seamus and Rory in the Italian Riviera.

Anne McCrea, Marie & Brian Island trip on Tory.

Toni in Tuscany.

Fintan 3-week tour of west coast of Australia.

William walking in Slovenia and sailing in Croatia.

Alan Moore in Portstewart.

Dennis Hawke spent his Sri Lankan trip in his hotel room-having succumbed to near fatal poisoning contacted from jungle coleslaw.


Seamus McCullagh in Clare Island and Kerry.

Fiona, Josephine, Vera, Kate, Michael and Tony Kelly confront desperate fugitive during weekend spent on Rathlin Island.

Mary & Paul Regan walked Chval Bernot in north Madeira.


Reports say that Seamus McCullagh went to Canada where he visited Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.  Travelled through ice fields and glaciers in temperatures between -30 and -40. Went boating on Kootney Lake and spent 3 days at Beaver Lake Lodge.


Brid, Kate, Vera, Michael and Tony Kelly on the Isle of Coll.


Livinia, James, Liam, Anne, Brian, Marie, Dennis G. Alan Tees, Margaret, Josephine, Helen (and Geoff), Nicky and Rita attended very enjoyable MCI Oct. Meet in Mullaghmore and had tea with the nice Mr McSharry.

William and Karen – Julianne Alps.

Ken tip-toed around the Romania mountains near Brasov in fear of the brown bear.


Fiona, Marie, Brian, Con, Pat and Rory(all now fluent Italian speakers) spend another 10 days in Tuscany where they witness Josephine being serenaded by Sixty, Sexy, Suitors.

Rory by then had seen enough and skipped off to India. 


Alan and Margaret in Lanzarote.

Josephine 10 days in Glenmore and experienced difficulty acclimatising.


Josephine spent the best part of the month in New Zealand, where she did some serious walking. Got there via the USA where she stayed a few days with her niece.


2005   NWMC Reports for 2005


Alan Tees ice-climbing in Norway, Margaret in Fortwilliam with Martin Mc Guigan, Bonny and others.


AGM & Dinner in Highlands Hotel, Glenties, Toni McKenna cycling in South Africa, Dennis G in Germany, Club Easter trip to Madeira: Fiona, Josephine, Margaret & Alan, James & Livinia, Mary McGuigan, Gertrude; Achill Island: Fiona, Tony K, Josephine, Rory, Keith, Dennis G, Con, Vera, Dave


Don with friends in Snowdonia


Bank Holiday on Achill: Josephine, Keith, Fiona, Tony K, Rory, Toni, Con, Alan organised first Climbing Fest, in Culdaff, well attended by climbers from all over Ireland; Alan, Margaret, Andrew, PJ &Roger, Mary & Martin McGuigan in Skye for a week (Martin completing Skye Ridge Traverse in one go)


Dave S backpacked Scotland coast to coast, Arrochar to Perth: Dennis Gin Loch Ossian; Kerry trip: Tony K, Pat B, Josephine, Ken, Tony S, Liam, Ann, Rory, Anthony, Maurice and Des Hosford went to Inishtrahl; Muckish Cheese and Wine party: Billy Plews, Trevor Collins, Raymond Lee (ex members), Alan, Margaret, PJ & Roger, Sandra & Keith, James & Livinia, Fiona, Ken, Tony S and friends from Columcille Climbers. Don & Martha in Switzerland


Toni rowing in north Spain, Dave S guiding Canadian group from Carrickfergus castle to Dunluce castle; William & Karen in Jullian Alps, Dennis & Brigedin in Greece; Alan & Margaret in Canadian Rockies and British Columbia with Mary & Martin McGuigan.


Dave S with another Canadian group on Connemara Way, part of the Camino Walk (Spain) walked by: Pat B, Rory, Josephine, Fiona, James & Livinia; Margaret & Alan, PJ & Roger, Sandra & Keith camping and climbing in Twelve bens, Brian & Marie on Haute Route, Switzerland.


Dennis G in Swiss Alps, Dave & Linda walking in Dolemites: Akke & Alison walking in Sorrento and on Versuvius, Club weekend on Arranmore.


Dennis G, Alan & Margaret attended MCI weekend in Tralee, Rory, Fiona, Josephine went to Sicily; Alan & Margaret in Apuane Alps, Tuscany, Alan, Margaret, Bonny & Christopher in Lake District.


Don and Martha in Provence.




The NWMC Out and About in 2006/2007

July 2006

Mary, Toni, Cathal, Vera, Rory, Fiona, Seamus and Josephine in the Tatras. They stayed in Zakopane, followed by a few days in Cracow. Dave – Scotland Coast to Coast. Dennis and Brighidin – Austria. Helen – Norway (Jotenheim) Helen and Marie walked in the Zermatt area then Marie continued for a few days around Grindelwald. Dennis G – Galicia, the Portugese Camino de Santiago. Pat visitedTajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, in central Asia and explored some of the higher regions there especially Kyrgyzstan with its Tien Shan range, the world’s third highest. MCI Alpine Meet, Ailefroide attended by Alan, Margaret, Roger, PJ, Keith and Sandra. (noted in previous Journal).

August 2006

Geraldine McTeague in the Tatras.

September 2006

Dennis Hawke in The Picos. Dave backpacking in Scotland.

October 2006

Cathal in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco Glover Plaque replaced by Alan, Manus and Margaret, on Errigal NW ridge in time for 30 anniversary of Joey’s death. Alan and Margaret trekked in West Bengal to the Sengalila Ridge where they met a group raising money for Foyle Hospice, and then to Sikkim to walk the Zhongri trail to the base of Kanchenjunga. Pat, Brian, Maire, Livinia, James, Josephine and Fiona in Apuane Alps.

December 2006 Helen walked in the Fort William area of Scotland.

January 2007

Alan, Margaret, Roger, PJ, Keith and Sandra spent New Year in Knoydart climbing Ladhar Beinn in winter conditions, Alan ice-climbing in Norway,




February 2007

Lake District – Mary, Pat, Josephine, Michael and Kate, Josephine, Cathal, Brendan, Seamus, Maurice and Fiona. Dennis G – Zermatt, skiing. Alan and Margaret climbed to the summit of Mount Teide, Tenerife.

April 2007

Toni, Fiona, Marie, Rory, Mary and Josephine stayed in Cong. Cathal – Wadi Rum and Petra, in Jordan. Dennis G – Galicia, the French Camino de Santiago. Alan and Margaret camping in Mayo, Benwee Head and the Nephin Begs.

May 2007

The Burren – Paddy and Eithna, Toni, Tony, Maurice, Akke, Marie, Josephine, Mary, Geraldine, Dennis, Brighidin. Alan, Margaret, Keith and Sandra walking and climbing in the west Caimgorms.

June 2007

Slovenia – Pat, Mary, Rory, Josephine and Seamus stayed in Kransa Gora and walked the Julian Alps. Then went to the coast at Piran. Margaret walked the central section of the Pennine Way. The Polish Tatras – alternative to the tried and trusted?

July 2007

Cathal, French Alps (Alp D’Huez). Geraldine McTeague, Tour d Mont Blanc. Dave, Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Alan, Margaret and PJ attended MCI Alpine Meet in Saas Grund, Switzerland, climbing several 4000m peaks, walking high alpine trails and ascending via ferratas. Dennis G, Switzerland and Italy, Tour de Monte Rosa and MCI Alpine Meet.

August 2007

Manus – Austria. Helen walked in the Glencoe and Ben Lawers areas of Scotland. Johnny walked in North Mayo.

September 2007

Eithne, Dennis G and Dave, Lake District, based in Keswick. Dennis H – Pyrenees. Keith and Sandra in Chamonix.

Tony S and Margaret – Dolomites. Alan and Margaret walking and cycling on Barra and Uist.


October 2007

Helen returned to Glencoe and better weather than in August Mary, Fiona Rory, Pat, Kate, Michael, and Josephine visited the Abruzzo National Park Italy.

November 2007

Eugene, Ken, Manus, Margaret, Alan, Helen, Keith and Dennis G spent a weekend in Connemara, based at Ben Lettery YH.

December 2007

Helen spent Christmas in the Lake District. Alan, Margaret, Gertrude and Brian spent the New Year in Kerry.



Members activities throughout the Year

Jan 2008

Alan and Margaret in Kerry with Gertrude and Brian A number of club members enjoyed a weekend in Connemara Marie trekking in New Zealand

Feb 2008

Lake District – Mary, Pat, Josephine, Seamus, Brendan, Maurice, Fiona, Brian, Toni, Rory Nicky and Rita did various multiday walking trips in New Zealand

April 2008

Josephine, Fiona, Rory, Seamus and Mary to Competa, Spain, walking in the Sierra Almijara and the Sierra Tejeda. Ken joined them for a few days A number of club members enjoyed a weekend in the Mournes Alan in Cornwall rock climbing Margaret walking in the Lake District via several hostels A number of club members camped on Tory Island

May 2008

Dennis, Finbarr, Margaret and Alan walked and climbed in the Panpatia region of the Himalayas Keith did the TGO Ultimate Challenge, crossing Scotland via Munros Tony K did some walking during his visit to Australia.

 June 2008

Josephine, Cabal, Mary, Rory and Fiona walked in Norway

July 2008

Johnny, Dennis G, Alan and Margaret attended the MCI Alpine Meet in Vicosoprano, Switzerland. Alan climbed Piz Bernina Don and Martha walked near Briancon Fiona and Cahal backpacking in Spain

Aug 2008

Helen walked the Tour of the Matterhorn circuit A number of club members enjoyed an eventful weekend in the Glens of Antrim Alan and others climbed Tor Mor island at Port

Sep 2008

Dennis H visited the Picos Keith and Sandra climbed in Saas Grund, Switzerland


Oct 2008

Mary, Rory, Kate, Michael, and Josephine visited the Camino Valley in Italy Alan and Margaret spent two days in Snowdonia Dennis, Alan and Margaret attended the MCI October Weekend in Macroom, Co Cork Toni walked the Inca Trail and Los Glaciares National Park, in Peru. In Chile, the Torres Del Paine National Park and in Argentina the Perito Moreno Glacier and the Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia.

Nov 2008

Don, Finbarr, Margaret, Alan, Helen, Keith , Maire, Brian and Dennis G spent a weekend in Connemara, based at Ben Lettery Cyril did some walking during his visit to Cuba

Dec 2008

Helen spent Christmas in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco Alan and Margaret spent three days climbing in Perthshire Liam and Ann snow-shoeing in Austria.












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