UK Club 27th Mountain Climb
Saturday 27 April saw the UK Club host its 27th official mountain climb in South Korea. This annual event - "the UKMC" - has become a cherished tradition for the Club's local membership and maritime community. A key ingredient of its continuing success has been its appeal to walkers of all ages.
The basic theme has changed little since the event's early days in the 1980s. Together with representatives from the Club's managers, from London and Hong Kong, and Korean correspondents, Hyopsung, the aim is to walk one of the many hiking trails in the hills and mountains around Seoul. Of course, after a vigorous morning walk, ample food and refreshments always await our walkers at their journey's end! Each year a new location is chosen. It is said that within striking distance of Seoul there are 10,000 hills and mountains. So, with enduring human support, there is little danger of this tradition failing through lack of choice….!
This year's event began with over 40 participants gathering early in central Seoul to join the coach. There followed a journey of about 90 minutes to this year's trail on Homyeong Mountain in Gapeyong County, to the north-west of Seoul. After the heavy rain of last year's event this year's strong attendance was a tribute to the loyalty and enthusiasm of the UKMC's supporters. They were justly rewarded, with a gloriously sunny day and the flowers of a Korean Spring showing off the hilly landscape in all its splendour.
Whilst the walk was steep in places - and yes, there were ropes strung from tree to tree to assist walkers towards the end of the trail - in fine weather, with dry ground beneath the walkers' boots, the trail to Homyeong Lake was accomplished by all. All - from the youngest to the oldest - "made it", in good time for lunch.
After pausing to take photographs on the shores of Homyeong Lake, a short coach ride followed, with a traditional Korean lunch at a nearby hostelry that the hungriest critic would have found hard to fault.
Well-deserved thanks were paid for the loyal and strong support of the Korean membership by John Morris, the Club’s Regional Director, who also took the opportunity to welcome one old and one new face. Richard Carpenter, long since retired from the managers, had, together with K H Kim of Hyopsung, been amongst the founders of the UKMC. Both were warmly applauded. Andrew Jones, until recently of the Club's senior management team in London and now relocated to Hong Kong, was, on the other hand, a newcomer, having just completed his first UKMC. Andrew too was warmly welcomed.
John reminded all present that for the continuing success of the UKMC tradition, it needed to pass from generation to generation, with each in turn bearing responsibility for its future success.
As always, our thanks to Hyopsung for all the arrangements and most notably to Mr K H Kim and Mr H S Ku, who, together, ensured that all ran smoothly on the day.