The club's inception

The idea of forming the JMCS (Junior Mountaineering Club of Scotland) was conceived by Arthur Rusk who, together with R. N. Rutherford and Archie Hutchison, decided upon the name and the constitution while stormbound in the Mutthorn Hut at the head of the Lauter Brunnen valley in the Swiss Alps, in July 1924. The initial motivation was the professed aim of providing "an association for mountaineers in which they might meet kindred spirits and find among them those who could teach them the rules of the game. It would be a Club in which the members would learn the rudiments of mountain craft and it might also become a 'feeder' for the senior club which requires conditions of membership".

If this were not high minded enough, there were also metaphysical notions behind the formation of the club! Rusk believed that mountains were not chance phenomena but existed to influence the lives of men and point a way, endlessly, up beyond the low levels, where for the most part man's course is run!! Metaphysically speaking: mankind need not live in the valleys — the mountain's vision could and should have a wider implication in human events.

Burdened, perhaps, by this weight of expectation, 7 stalwarts spent the night of 29 August 1925 bivouaced at the Narnain boulders in Arrochar, and the following day the JMCS held its inaugural meeting, with 13 people present (8 of whom were already SMC members). The weather was so bad that Rusk remained inside his sleeping bag for the duration of the meeting and conducted business from there (an inspiration and example to some of us!).

The original members apparently all hailed from Glasgow but, as might perhaps have been expected, the club soon bifurcated into separate Glasgow and Edinburgh sections, the Edinburgh section being formed 10 days later, in September 1925. Other sections were later formed, and there are now five autonomous sections, based in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lochaber, London and Perth (in alphabetical order to avoid offending anyone).

A more detailed history, from 1924 to 1970, can be found here.

           The inaugural meeting of the JMCS at the Narnain Boulder.

inaugural meeting of JMCS under the Narnain Boulder

Present (L to R): W Speirs; JA Stevens; C Robertson; AJ Rusk; ? Waddington;
CW Parry; RN Rutherford; GR Speirs; AG Hutchison

The above photo, and the names of those present, are taken from the front of the club's first log-book.

Pat Baird The club's history includes some of the most important mountaineers in Scotland. Although not so well known, Charles Stupart produced a biography of Pat Baird, one of the early members, for the club's 2000 newsletter, which sheds an interesting light on the climbing scene of the era. The photo shows Pat climbing, in what appears to be his early days as well.