Pantheonic Advice: "I don't mean to interfere but..."

A Compendium of Helpful Advice for CUHWC Presidents

Alex Tuck (President 2006-07) to DC (President 2007)

Essential advice contained within.

I don't mean to interfere, but (i) I feel that it's about time I should, and (ii) after spending the morning researching Paramo jackets and Snowdonia scrambles for the trip, and taking part in online competitions to win Nikwax products, I can't seem to bring myself to do any work...

Firstly, you're probably in the middle of booking bunkhouses for next year (and if not, why not?). I think that a trip to Long Sleddale would be in order for the start of Michaelmas. It has superb access (only 6 miles along a single track road). Furthermore, it is home to those well known peaks, "Grey Crag" and "Tarn Crag", with dizzying heights of nearly 700m, which should attract lots of new members (especially those wanting to experience some "proper mountaineering"). It's essential to go somewhere that people have heard of before for the first trip - anywhere too obscure and you risk people thinking our trips are boring. Admittedly, after 10 minutes searching on the map, I haven't managed to find a nearby pub (or bunkhouse) - but I suspect this is just an omission on the Ordnance Survey's part.

For the middle trip of Michaelmas, you need something REALLY good - something to persuade new members that going away every other weekend won't destroy their chances of getting a degree (or to make them think it's worth it). And it has to appeal to regulars, who won't believe you when you tell them that mid-Wales contains the undiscovered Alps of the UK. Also, as this trip's generally smaller than the first trip of Michaelmas, you can afford to go somewhere that doesn't have a massive bunkhouse. And finally, I'd like to stop off at the Stewart R Cunningham Outdoor Centre in Betws-y-Coed, as their new Paramo range should have come in by then. So, I think we should take the opportunity, while there's no café there, to camp on the top of Snowdon. This offers superb walking from the door, with a pleasant stroll from the car park on arrival. Also, we could offer the trip at a reduced fee on the assumption that many new members will be put off by the walk-in and go home (so won't need accommodation, club stores or return transport).

And after these two little gems, the final trip of Michaelmas is going to be tough. In fact - you may as well give up before you start. We don't need another club trip - what we do need, is a club-funded backpacking trip to Wasdale to let ex-presidents and ex-meets secs finish bagging the surrounding fells. While there is a youth hostel nearby, as the trip is going to be pretty small you're probably better off booking a couple of rooms in the nearest five star hotel (no point throwing club money away on unused beds).

Secondly, I feel it only right I should comment on the recent debate about oversubscribed trips. So I thought of an easy way to treble trip capacity - we have three sleeping shifts on each trip! The first is 11pm-7am, and is obviously reserved for drivers. Anyone only wanting to walk until 7am can sleep in the second shift (7am to 3pm), and all baggers/energetic people can go on a longer walk, coming back to sleep from 3pm-11pm before going back out walking again. This offers several advantages over people sleeping standing up or being stacked on top of each other - the main one being that we would be quite legitimate in not breaking any bunkhouse rules.

With all this space available on trips, you could put into action phase III of my plan - a nationwide TV ad campaign to raise awareness of CUHWC. We could expand from our current triangular-based strategy (CUHWC, CUHWC-Oxford and CUHWC-Colorado), putting in hostile takeover bids for all other university walking clubs in the UK! Once we've amassed sufficient numbers, we could then buy up all of the national parks, and charge members of the public a hefty entrance fee, thus funding our walking trips. If you think this is a bit too far-fetched, you could probably omit Northern Ireland.

Anyway, you're probably desperate to put all of these ideas into action now, so I won't keep you much longer. Just to say that if you're thinking of offering Horlicks on club trips, you might also want to reconsider my suggestions of club ice-cream, club chocolate, club Trail mix, club chocolate coated raisins, club freshly ground coffee, and club hens to provide fresh eggs.

See you tomorrow,


DC (President 2007) to Lucy Wright (President 2007-08)

Dear Lucy…
I don't mean to interfere but
Which fool booked the Plynlimon hut?
It's in mid-Wales, for God's sake,
With nowt there but a bog and a lake.
Ah, sorry - oops. I'd better retract that carefully
As the author of that booking...might just have been me.
Now then, what's going on here?
From my perspective I wish to make it clear
That I expect membership for free,
With complimentary cake and plenty of teeeeaaaaaa.
But on issues of sign-up I have nothing to say
For I know the others will get carried away.
Issues of keenness - relative? absolute?
Are as confusing to me as the ablative absolute.
Though there is one small thing not to be ignored
- that the Club really ought to get a sign-up clipboard.

Oh great Pantheon above, is this a worthy submission
Of coursework for my possible admission?

Lucy Wright (President 2007-08) to Simon Taylor (President 2008-09)

Dear Simon...

I don't mean to interfere but, well, I doo
As I fear for the life of Claudia the coo
She knows many songs, but that's not much use
When she's been left behind in the back of a bus
Bring her back soon, and what do you know?
She may woo our Ben in his new paramo!
Though hope for the offspring is slim, I'm aware,
For who'd want the child of a cow and a bear?

As for advice, I suggest you move fast
In the race to book huts you don't want to be last.
Those Oxford Hillwalkers are lean and mean,
But first they must wade through paperwork reams.
So there is a chance, if you hasten to call
That we may return, perhaps in the fall*,
To that favourite of mine, high up on the fell
Above Coniston, where the miners did dwell.

As president past, some advice I must give
So that the Club may continue to live.
DC had some wisdom which I failed to heed
Though I always intended, I didn't succeed
In providing the Club with more useful gear-
A clipboard for sign-up: what a good idea!
(Perhaps not so vital as I first let on,
But I do hope for entry to the great Pantheon)

I fear now my poem, whose lines fail to scan
Is testing your patience and attention span
So I'll stop there.


* Apologies for the Americanism. "Autumn" wouldn't rhyme.

Dave Farrow (President 2009-10) to Jo Smith (President 2010-11)

I don’t mean to interfere but,
Have you ever thought what to do,
with the problem of membership price?
I'm afraid that I don't have a clue
So I can't offer you any advice

You should book the bunkhouses soon,
Because in my year the Michaelmas trips
aligned with a great big full moon
to help avoid any night time slips

Have you made up your mind,
with regard to hillwalking meets,
on mountaineers and pre-signed
duffers, and provision of club sweets?

Good luck for the coming year,


Jo Smith (President 2010-11) to Matthew Graham (President 2011-12)

I don’t mean to interfere but…
...I confess I've been feeling somewhat guilty this past week
[Besides, writing this is the only way to get into the ultimate clique!]
In case you got the wrong idea, so I'll clarify a bit more -
Though I think you're a sensible chap, one can't be too sure...

I told you at the Annual Dinner what you should do this year.
But weekends in Scotland and abroad are, I fear,
Slightly ambitious, in hindsight. And I don't really recommend
Losing bunkhouse keys (or freshers), or actually being EGM-ed.

As for a club PhD - well, it would be stunning
But to be honest I doubt you'd get any funding
(The BMC grants for club newsletters won't cover the fee).
Instead, why not write an article for High Society?

So anyway, I just wanted to make sure, before I leave you to it,
That you won't take me seriously and actually do it.
Though I do have one real piece of advice, which I hope will help:
You don't have to do all the washing up yourself!

Andrew Williamson (President 2012-13) to Vicky Ward (President 2013-14)

Dear Ms President,
I don’t mean to interfere but…

I have noticed the website’s out of date,
And the minibus crash was far from great.
A course in using Markdown might be sense:
You’ve made more than one typographic offence.
I see we’re going back to the White Peak,
A location that’s questionably unique.
Sadly, there isn’t a lot for me to bag there.
And, on that note, can we go back to Stair?
As Hobcarton End is on my bagging list,
One of the few Nuttalls I carelessly missed.
A holiday trip to the Mournes I’d recommend,
And it’s surely a decision you can defend?
I’d sort this sooner rather than later,
Though it’s not as if I’m Club dictator.
The loss of my title is sad – nothing less –
But I wouldn’t want you under any stress.
So if you need any help, I’m very trusty,
Provided I get a pre-sign for Dolgellau.

Is the above ample for me to be allowed
A place in the revered Pantheonic crowd?

Mr Andrew Williamson
Ex-CUHWC President

Vicky Ward (President 2013-14) to Tom Leach (President 2014-15)

I bet you’d thought I’d forgot
That I’d leave my recommendations to rot
Alas not true
I was just letting my thoughts accrue

let me suggest
The creation of a club crest
Of course in the centre is the cow
For we have existed for quite long now
Longer than many a college
25 years in my knowledge

We should go to Tranearth
For what its worth
“Why” you cry?
“Why should I give it a try?”
Point of principle
We need to prove invincible
For 3 different trips I tried to book
But for all weekends the hut was took
However, other clubs have succeeded
Where we lay defeated
UEA went this year
Surely we are more than their peer?
From now I declare
While we have a bit of cash spare
We should book all Lake District huts
Before this opportunity shuts
So that we hold ultimate position of power
Under which all clubs will cower

So remember remember the fifth of November
Some proposed advice not rot