A crystal-clear day on Ben Macdui.

Dry-stone walling on a Conservation Meet.


A Via Ferrata in the Ecrins National Park.

A snowy day in the Lake District.

The sun doesn't always shine!

The Cantilever Stone in Snowdonia.

Snacking in the sun...


OUMS was formed in February 1989 with the aim of bringing together people who share the common interests of the Open University and the great outdoors. Membership is open to students and staff of the Open University - past or present. We are affiliated to the British Mountaineering Council. The text below explains more about the Society, or you may wish to use the FAQ page.


We hold meets approximately monthly, in many different areas of the country, but concentrating on mountain areas (as you might expect!). Just to give you a flavour, this is a fairly typical year's meets list:

JanuaryLlangollen - mid-Wales
FebruaryAviemore, Scotland
MarchKeswick, Lake District
April (Easter)Mountains of Mourne, Ireland
MayUllapool, Scotland
JuneSnowdonia, Wales
JulyDevon Coastal Path
JulyEcrins National Park, France
SeptemberConservation Meet - Lake District
OctoberSnowdonia, Wales
NovemberGlenridding, Lake District

Most meets are weekend meets - people arrive at the accommodation at various times on Friday evening (depending on how far they have had to travel). Most people walk on Saturday or (on some meets) some may be going climbing. On Saturday evening we usually cook and share food - joining in with the 'cook-in' is completely optional, and you may prefer to cook your own meal or go out for pub grub.

On Sunday people often go on a shorter walk, finishing in the early afternoon, to give people enough time to travel home.

Meets in Scotland are usually during the February and May half term holidays, to allow the teachers among the membership to attend. For these meets, accommodation is usually booked for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, to give two full days' walking. However on most meets in Scotland, several people stay on and get in a full week's walking.

There is often also a trip abroad at Easter or in the summer - in recent years Easter trips have included the Mountains of Morne in Northern Ireland, and Arran and Mull in Scotland. Summer trips have been to the Ecrins National Park in France, and to the western USA.

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Accommodation is usually in youth hostels or bunkhouses, although we do sometimes have a camping meet. As the name implies, a bunkhouse involves sleeping in bunks. Some bunkhouses provide bedding, but for others you will need to bring a sleeping bag and sometimes also a pillow. Note that the dormitories will sometimes be mixed, although we try to stick to men's and women's rooms where we can.

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Everyone is welcome, whether novice or experienced. We all have to begin somewhere! We pride ourselves on being a friendly crowd, and do our best to make new members feel welcome.

Having said that, some meets are more suitable for inexperienced walkers than others. A trip to Scotland, for example, often involves much longer walks and more ascent than a weekend in Snowdonia or the Lake District. If you are in any doubt, ask the Meets Secretary before you book a meet how suitable it will be for your level of experience.

You do not need to be able to navigate to come on an OUMS meet, as there are usually experienced members willing to lead walks. However you will give yourself more options for walks if you can navigate - if you want to learn just ask - there will usually be someone more experienced who is willing to help you.

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Individual membership costs £20 per year, and is renewable annually from January 1st. Individuals may bring guests to meets once or twice a year, but if your partner wishes to attend regularly he or she may become a joint member for an additional £10.

Children may attend meets as guests, but their parents remain responsible for their safety and behaviour at all times. If you are thinking of bringing children to a meet, please bear in mind what has been said about accommodation above, and phone or email the meets secretary to find out if the meet is suitable.

If you would like to join you can download a membership form
here, and send it to Cath Skinner (the membership secretary) with a cheque made payable to OUMS, or email her if you any questions (take the xx out of her email address first - it is there to try to prevent spam).

If you would like to set up a standing order, you can download a standing order form here. You need to send this to your bank, but please enclose a note to Cath with your membership form to tell her you have done so.

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Open University Mountaineering Society 2015