Renew? Why should I? by Jacky Rix-Brown

Heading for Rotondohutte – J Rix-Brown

After a few good days in Coniston in January, Covid-19 put paid to all subsequent trips to the mountains in 2020. No ski-touring – no Alpine meets – not even meets in Lakeland or Wales!  All the wonderful times I usually enjoy through my AAC(UK) membership…gone!  As I write Covid-19 is ramping up for a second hit. So, is it worth renewing my membership?


I’ve “been here before”, not with any Covid, but when other factors kept me from enjoying AAC activities.  Then hanging on and staying a member proved a wise choice! So, I’m sure it will this time too.

I joined AAC(UK) in January 1971, intending to go to the Alps on a course to learn how to travel on glaciers or rocky steep terrain, having already discovered the joys of mountain walking. I wanted to get out into “real” mountains. Then my 1971 version of Covid struck. I had started a new job in November and soon after had taken out a mortgage for a flat. I was on a probationary period with a salary review due in March, so didn’t mind a couple of months on lean times. But when the review came they told me the company was facing a tough time and my review was to be a zero rise. Goodbye AAC Rock & Ice Course. Goodbye trips to the Alps!  But by then I had discovered the AAC lectures in London and learned about the programme of meets and walks in UK. I’d paid my sub, so I might as well take advantage of those. I did, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I made lots of new friends and by car-sharing and cheap hut accommodation I discovered parts of our own mountains that I didn’t know before, especially in Scotland where everything was unfamiliar and exciting. With time my income increased and I was able to get out to the Alps!

Jacky on summit of Cradle Mountain

I had another experience a few years later which questioned the validity of membership. I got married and we both took up dinghy sailing, and later bigger boats on the sea. We found our summer holidays were spent sailing, either in the Med or round our own coast, and our weekends we were racing in our dinghies, so no Alpine sorties. Fortunately, winter weekends didn’t see us in boats, so we stayed members and went to the Lakes or Wales in winter, and Scotland at Easter, all with the AAC.  What a blessing!  We kept up our activities in the mountains, and that has stayed with us when hanging out of a dinghy became a problem for aging bodies, and friends we’d crewed for in big boats were all selling their crafts.

Setting out for San Mateo – J Rix-Brown

So, experience has shown me that love of mountains endures, and AAC(UK) is instrumental in keeping alive opportunities for enjoying them. Also, I’m hopeful that there will be a chance to get out into the mountains one way or another in 2021. I fear my planned ski-tour may not go ahead as winter is of greater danger of Covid restrictions, but we should get to the Alps next summer, and there is certainly a lot of work going on within the Alpine Team to provide a full programme of activities at home and abroad. In fact, I hope by the time you read this I will have been to Keswick on the weekend Paul Marginson is organising in October, keeping within Covid restrictions. Even if I have to be shielded again, I will enjoy the lectures which are now beginning to be offered via Zoom (so even the remotest members can enjoy them!)

All this positive thinking is dependent on our club being here for us in future years. So let’s all make a positive effort to ensure it doesn’t suffer the fate threatening many businesses.

Renew now and keep AAC(UK) Limited in business! 

Apply now for Membership 2021

Easter in Scotland – J Rix-Brown


[Updated 20 January 2021]

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