The 25th Annual UK Club Mountain Climb (UK MC) took place on Saturday 14th May at Keum Byeong Mountain, about 90 kilometres to the north-east of Seoul.
This year's UKMC was a rather special occasion; the 25th Anniversary of the first official UK Club Mountain Climb held in 1986 and an annual event ever since. It also came at the end of a week in which the UK Club activities had been very much focused on Korea. Earlier in the week the Directors of the UK Club had meet in Seoul for a Board meeting followed by Reception for local members and shipping community.
This year's UKMC was held on Saturday 14th May at Keum Byeong Mountain, some 80 kilometres to the north-east of Seoul. Keum Byeong Mountain is well known in Korea as the setting of several novels by Kim Yu-jeong (1908-1937), a famous Korean short story author, counted amongst Korea's finest writers in the 20th century. The novels Dongbaekkkot (The Camellias) and Bom Bom( Spring Day) rank among his best known work. He was born in Sille Village, in Sindong-myeong, Chunchon, and after an early morning coach ride from Seoul the UKMC began with a visit to his restored birth place - the Kim Yu-Jeong House of Literature - which honours him. The location was also the start of a picturesque hiking trail through glorious woodlands, some parts of which are mentioned in the author's novels, and which mark significant moments in their story lines.
The UK Club enjoys substantial support from Korean shipowners and the Korean maritime community and the UKMC is always well supported by local Members. This year, it attracted its usual crop of enthusiastic walkers and on a fine sunny day, tempered by a pleasant cool breeze, the morning was spent taking in an enjoyable but not too energetic walk. This proved however more than sufficient to build up a good appetite for lunch at a local hostelry, famous for its Korean chicken and other traditional delicacies.
At lunchtime John Morris, the Regional Chairman, was able to thank the Members present for their loyalty and their continuing support of the Club and took particular pleasure in welcoming back one of the original founders of the UKMC, Richard Carpenter, who for many years until his retirement over 10 years ago, had worked closely with members in the Korean market, both from London and Hong Kong. Richard responded with a short reprise of how things were some 25 years earlier, confirming that the current catering arrangements seemed a distinct improvement over those days. In the early years UKMC hikers had carried all their provisions with them on the climbs if they wished to have any refreshments at lunchtime!
Others welcomed from afar included Christopher Brown, from the London management, and a familiar face in Korea after some years spent in the region based in Hong Kong, whilst other members of the current Hong Kong office team present included Peter Lau, Christopher Roberts and Do Young Kim.
As always, grateful thanks to Hyopsung Shipping, the Club's general correspondent in Korea, and, in particular, to Mr K H Kim, for making the arrangements, and to Mr J H Han for taking charge of all activities on the day