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The Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal
Preface


"Let the words be few"

ALTHOUGH the value of a Club Journal as a means of circulating information must be so apparent to members as to render editorial introduction almost unnecessary, it may not be out of place, in this the first number, to indicate briefly one or two points in connection with it.

Probably it will surprise many readers to learn that there are more than three hundred mountains in Scotland whose height exceeds 3,000 feet above sea-level! Even were our explorations to be restricted to mountains of no lesser altitude, here truly is a formidable undertaking. Their very names might furnish us with philological study for considerable time to come, without trenching upon the more scientific aspects of their botany, zoology, and climatology; and even if we content ourselves with them from a topographical or a climbing point, it will be long indeed before they are exhausted. But fine walks, hard climbs, and magnificent scenery are by no means restricted to the higher mountains.

It is probably not too much to say that some of our Scottish summits have never been ascended; that others have only seen the adventurous climber at long intervals, and then only in the shape of the forester, the shepherd, or the sportsman, who have climbed them in pursuit of their avocation, and not in search of the picturesque or the difficult. And if they are known to these visitors, they are wholly unknown to the world at large, for many of them have never been described at all, and the only account of others is as old as the days of Pennant and MacCulloch. The field that lies before the Club is therefore a large one; and when our members have climbed all the peaks, and explored all our beautiful glens and passes, we shall still have the excellent advice of Mr Pilkington, a Vice-President of the Alpine Club, to fall back upon: for he tells us that when we have found all the easy ways up our hills, we must turn our attention to conquering the difficult ways. This it is that has largely maintained the interest of the Alpine Journal, full as its numbers have been, of recent years, of old friends presented under new aspects in the way of ascents and explorations by routes hitherto unattempted.

And just as in the case of the Alpine Journal there were critics who prophesied its speedy starvation from want of material, so in the case of this, its humble imitator, some of our friends assure us of early extinction. Whether this comes about depends entirely on members themselves. The field, as has been said, is large; so is the number of workers—to wit, the members of the Club. It is hoped that the formation of a Mountaineering Club in Scotland will give a considerable impetus to the pursuit of that fascinating pastime; and the result ought to be the gathering of a great mass of most diversified and interesting information, whose natural channel should be the Journal.

It is intended to concern ourselves principally, of course, with the hills of Scotland ; but our pages will not be closed to the story of mountain adventure across the Border or in Ireland. The Club being in some measure responsible for a Journal published in its name, and under its direction, all the narratives inserted will be written and signed by members; but as it is felt that this would tend to narrow our sphere of action, there will be a section devoted to Notes and Queries, Reviews of Guide Books and Maps, Scientific Information, and, in general, everything that has a bearing upon the aims and objects of the. Club. This section will be open to all persons who may be interested in these matters, and it is hoped that it will be by no means the least entertaining portion of the Journal. It is intended to publish thrice yearly if possible. This should not be difficult if members take up the idea warmly.

Enough has been said to let it be seen that there are many sources from whence to draw a steady supply of matter sufficient to support our literary effort for a long time to come. And if, sooner or later, it is thought advisable to discontinue, at any rate it may be hoped that we shall have supplied a want long felt in the shape of reliable description of much of the wilder and more picturesque part of our country; that our pages will hold the record of many pleasant friendships formed and fostered; that their perusal will inculcate a love of our manly pursuit in persons who might not otherwise be drawn towards it; and last, but by no means least, that they will remind us of many an agreeable expedition amid scenes wherein, more truly than in other spots, we may say that—

"Our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

THE EDITOR.


 

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