UK Club Mountain Climb – Korea - 2012

Saturday 21st April saw another milestone in the history of this annual event. Known to everyone in the Korean shipping community as “the UKMC”, and now in its 26th official consecutive year, this year’s UKMC saw some 40 hikers gather early in central Seoul to set off by coach to tackle Mt Geombong (which translated means “modest summit”) a favourite amongst hikers and located in the region of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, the most north easterly province in South Korea.

The group comprised, as usual, a broad cross-section of local members and brokers, P&I staff from the Hong Kong and London offices together with staff from the Club’s local representatives, Hyopsung. 
An hour or so later the coach arrived near the Gugok Waterfall for the start of this year’s UKMC. This feature is famed for its lengthy descent through 9 twists and turns before dropping down a stone wall and ending in a 50m cascade. It is a favourite for ice climbers in the Korean winter. But, on the day, the UKMC’s hikers had their eyes set on another goal altogether and set off briskly, on a trail that the regular hikers in the party considered to be only moderate, ascending through a quiet woodland landscape. Those who were less fit may have had a different view of the trail’s severity but all would have agreed that just a little bit of sunshine (instead of the day’s steady rain) would have been more pleasant!

As the path rose the rain became progressively heavier and there was general relief all round when the party arrived at a simple mountainside restaurant some 90 minutes later to find shelter, hot food and drink. Just in time too! As everyone shed wet clothes and boots to settle down for a traditional Korean lunch, the skies opened with a tremendous and lengthy downpour. However, the sound inside the plastic canopy failed to drown out the many conversations between friends inside.

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 introduce newcomers to the UKMC from amongst the Club’s staff, as well as to welcome back familiar faces who had been absent overseas in recent years. Fortunately the afternoon’s descent to the waiting coach proved rather quicker than the ascent, which was followed by a very convivial journey back to Seoul despite the wet weather conditions.

As always, our thanks to Hyopsung for all the arrangements and most notably to Mr K H Kim and Mr H S Ku, himself a newcomer to the UKMC, who, together, ensured that all the arrangements ran smoothly on the day. 

We can just hope for better weather next year!

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