9th February 2017 – Cripps Court, Magdalene College.
Present: David H (chair), Ben B (secretary), Arthur G, Chris H, Ben H, Zekang C, Sumita C, Paul F, Andrew W, Adrien L, Callum R, Grisilda Z, Sarah M, Sebastian N, Camilla P, Anabel M, Anthony C, Marton G, Matt A, Arion P.
(Sarah M left before voting.)
Apologies: Matt H
Proxy votes: Juliette M (via AL).
Apologies were received from Matt H, who also thanks the outgoing committee.
DH opens the meeting and comments on the trips under his presidency:
Brecon Beacons - enjoyable. The trip was run jointly with the cavers – quite a few club members took the opportunity to try caving. Organising was fantastically stressful.
Cwm Dyli also stressful. The Pinnacle Club are annoyed. Advice: do not annoy further. Future committee should think about transport for vac trips: the club claims not to organise then does - not ideal.
Capel Curig: trip did not fill up. Lost money. There has been a question of whether there is a point in mysteries. A mystery bunkhouse has been booked for this year, but incoming president free to reveal location.
Aside: Arion is lost.
AW: How are these Cambridge students?
Patterdale good, especially the night hike. Hawkshead Red is fantastic.
Edale: coach got stuck. Do not recommend shepherding freshers in future, though it did include a good stretch of ridge.
Eskdale: is really far away. Question whether we should go so far in future. David thinks it worthwhile, except when he is sitting in the car. Ennerdale possibly even further.
Caseg Ffraith: great bunkhouse. Good atmosphere. Trip was joint with the Mountaineers, but no joint activities other than evening socialising. Hope for more mingling in future.
Swaledale: perhaps favourite trip of the year.
Conniston: apparently enjoyable. Group of people turned up but didn't interact with others?
PF: To point of not filling in route cards.
DH: Be aware of this on future trips.
Mount Hoolie: 12 trip participants overdue at one point. Again stressful.
Overall: No-one died or seriously injured. Success!
This Easter, the club is (unusually) going to Glen Coe. This trip is important to DH, as Scotland is great. Use this trip to widen appeal - club is accessible to all whether going for walks around the lake or exploring Scotland in Winter. Members should be learning winter skills, etc.
Important to recruit freshers: club has lately been dominated by PF.
[PF confiscates DH's whiskey.]
Squash well-received. Arion got BMC funding for banner and promised for Freshers’ Week, but is still not here...
Facebook: has been used more this year than previously. We should be aiming for [DH attempts to sound youthful and keen] "Wow, what an amazing trip. I want to go walking with the hillwalking club."
[See attached Treasurer’s Report.]
Accounts are well balanced. Small profit on the year after some unexpected income from bank compensation. Trip fees have been increased. Recommend keeping at £40/£42.
Membership: Might differ from database owing to membership form submission / payment received across financial years.
Socials: Some socials didn't follow the pre-payment system - cash was collected. Try to stick to pre-payment in future.
[Several questions were received from Andrew W in advance of the meeting. Answers as in revised financial report (attached). ZC reads out in entirety regardless...]
Aside: Arion is still lost...
ZC reads first few of AW’s questions and prepared answers to them. [See attached.]
AW: On the summary accounts, even though the number of members has presumably risen (£1956 income to 31/01/2016 vs. £2069 to 31/01/2017), why is the BMC affiliation fee lower between the two years?
BB: There are some members still to be paid for. A further 22 members have been registered recently, and we are awaiting billing. BMC have been a bit sluggish in invoicing...
Further aside: Arion is at Selwyn's Cripps Court. His participation in the Langdale navigation course is encouraged by PF.
ZC continues reading prepared answers.
Damage to gas hob on Caseg Ffraith trip: AW of opinion that CUMC should pay.
DH: It doesn't come to much.
AW: Maybe not worth it if there’s a risk of causing significant fall-out with CUMC.
CP briefly alarmed to hear that PF is Senior Treasurer. Clarified that this is of CUMC, not CUHWC. CP much relieved.
Facebook boosting: ZC: have not boosted club posts in financial year to Jan 31st. Only experimented for Annual Dinner recently.
MA: did use his own money for one social event.
AW (in advance): Do we anticipate significant future expenditure on equipment?
as AP not yet present, DH comments: Yes, club will spend some amount on equipment in future. The tents bought in the last year were useful.
AW: Point was whether current kit is in need of replacement soon.
DH doesn’t think so.
ZC reads last couple of prepared answers to AW’s questions.
PF: one of the reports was pointless. Only displaying balances since whatever date we started using GnuCash.
DH/ZC: Profit and loss report for last year only has been circulated.
BMC grants: AW: is this the banner?
[ several simultaneous discussions of what BMC gives grants for ]
How much do we pay for website?
PF: Main thing is the domain name registration every couple of years.
AW: Overall policy in past has been to lose money. Not planning this any more, but should persuade SS that we need cash reserves.
DH: Put a strong argument to SS in last year’s application - travel is expensive, club trips are important to health / wellbeing.
CP: Was SS grant the same as last year? DH: Yes. PF: CUMC got the same amount.
DH: Ask for 15 grand and see what happens.
CP: Could agree with CUMC to ask for more...
DH: Not as many people with own cars. Travel is more expensive now. But SS did not buy that last year.
PF: Would be good to have some SS insiders. They are looking for people. If every outdoor club suggested someone...
AW is keen.
Anabel M: Would be good to have simple Powerpoint / graphs to show how many members we have, how many drivers, how many own their own cars, etc. Show what we are doing, what we need, where the money will go.
DH: could possibly include in cover letter for SS application.
PF: In past SS was undersubbed. CUSU have been annoying in advertising it to people.
CP asks whether any sponsorship would interfere with SS grant. Boat club uses alumni connections, etc.
DH: Might turn nose up if sponsorship is onerous or exploitative.
BB comments Trespass dealings: monumental amount of faff for two cheap baselayer tops.
DH: One Duffer turned down Annual Dinner because commanding RN vessel in Indian Ocean...
DH calls a vote on whether to allow discussion to continue. There is little enthusiasm.
Accounts are approved unanimously.
DH explains the AGTF. This year they have funded two courses: REC2 First Aid course last February and the scrambling course in June. We are very grateful.
The AGTF has a balance of about £6000 in the account. Will be funding REC2,4 courses (50%), and Winter Skills course (75%). That is very generous of them – they are a great asset to the club.
Hope to have more individual applications to make better use of AGTF – only one application this year for a navigation course - advised to come on ours instead of paying for instructor.
AGTF could operate more effectively – not the best at responding to emails.
PF: Are there still difficulties in getting money out of the bank account?
DH: Yes. Philip W started moving AGTF towards internet banking, but still not there. Internet banking was a revelation to the AGTF committee.
AW: What donations have there been to the AGTF this year? £1000 from the Gibsons? DH: Yes
AW suggests AGTF could become training and travel fund.
CP: Not what it's there for. Perhaps if advertised to others for donations, maybe.
PF asks whether AGTF are set up for Gift Aid. Mentions scheme to channel donations through the University, with label to make sure it gets to the right pot.
DH: Arion should update course descriptions on the webisite.
Arion: How do I edit the website anyway?
Andrew W had sent some questions in advance, which BB attempted to answer.
AW (in advance): How many people failed to get a place on a trip at sign-up (even if they subsequently went on to get a place)?
BB: This is not routinely recorded. For some trips (for which I have sign-up sheets): Eskdale: waiting list of 9 people at sign-up (of whom 1 subsequently got a place). Caseg Ffraith: waiting list of 8 at sign-up. Extra transport booked: all but 1 were eventually offered a space. Cheviot: everyone at sign-up got a place. Some bias here – these were popular Michaelmas trips.
DH: Swaledale didn't fill.
AW: How many trips did not fill up this year and how many places were left unfilled?
BB: Under current committee, one weekend trip did not fill - 3 spaces unfilled on Mystery Trip.
SC gives transport report [see attached].
Thanks to the rest of the committee.
Difficulty: no card available to pay for transport all year – was paid from SC’s own card. New committee should try to sort this.
Paul C drove 5 times. People driving more than 4 times are offered annual excess insurance. That worked out well.
CP: Good idea. Also cheaper for the club.
DH: Excess insurance takes away a lot of risk for the club.
CP: What is the situation with the card?
DH: Applied for one, but never emerged. ZC went on account in September. Incredible argument with bank - hopefully next year better. Bank not good at dealing with international Meets and Treasurer.
BH asks whether Forest Evasion was an official trip. It was not.
AW (in advance): How many Toms are currently on the membership database?
BB: The decline of Tom continues - only 4 current members of the club bearing that name.
Ben (8 until recently if including Benjamin and Benedict)
Alex (6 if including Alexander and Alexandra)
Chris (6 if including Christiane, Christie, Christine, Christoph)
Vote to continue discussion. A majority were in favour of continuing.
AW would like the website to be updated. DH agrees that it looks dated. “The colour scheme is hideous.”
Various people (Marton, Adrien) commented that it is functional.
DH: Functional, but not pretty. Perhaps trying to fit too much into one place? Could make more use of Google Docs, etc, in the future.
Arthur G is willing to have a go at updating it. Good luck to him.
Sumita C asks if there is a policy regarding babies on trips.
MA: No club policy at the moment.
BB asserts that it is fine with the BMC provided parents are supervising.
CP: No need for Ashton clause in the constitution.
Adrien questions lack of Cwm Dyli trip.
DH has had trouble getting responses to emails. We had booked, but they unbooked us... Hoping for a "normal" Easter trip in addition to Glen Coe, perhaps Capel Curig, though problems getting email responses from them as well.
MA: This is partly what the discuss list is for.
DH introduces the unusual joint ticket: Matt A and Chris H. Prospective co-presidents discuss amongst themselves which should go first.
MA: No other club does what we do. Would like to contribute towards it, but cannot be president alone as in final year. “Balance of youth an experience.”
CH: Having a fresher president would be good for fresher recruitment next year. Having more undergrads on the committee could undo the current postgrad bias.
Adrien: The constitution says we do not discriminate.
[General discussion of whether or not we discriminate against various groups of people.]
DH posits that the club is not sexist.
CP: The club is male-dominated but not sexist.
MA issues a non-discriminatory statement of the value of all present.
Adrien: Are you (MA) ready to change sex?
All others present are confused.
AW comment: President perhaps only position not possible to share. There is a risk of buck-passing. Having two presidents introduces an extra layer of admin and work coordinating between each other. Who makes decisions in difficult times? How to resolve disputes between co-presidents? What happens if one can't carry on?
MA: Work will be divided up by trip. Non-trip activities will be divided in a defined way.
CH: We have throught about having one to handle admin work and one trip running, but not sure how well this would work - one getting all the fun. We’re not creating a new role, just balancing workload.
Adrien: (to MA) Has sharing socials worked well?
MA: Has worked well to cover when one has been away. e.g. Christmas Curry. Some division as well - Matt did fire night. Could have done it alone, but would have been more stressful and not as good for the club.
CP: How will you handle emails? Having presidential address forward to both wouldn’t really work. A joint email account?
MA: Yes, we’ve run a shared email account for socials this year and it has worked. Also provides continuity from one committee to the next.
AW: What happens if one of you stops working?
CH asks when MA will be finishing his PhD, but MA doesn’t know.
CH: Until now, presidency has been held by one person at a time. Can revert to that for an amount of time if needed.
MA: Half-way through the year CH will have had half a year of being president. If he took it on by himself, he’d be far more experienced than anyone else.
AW: Is the plan then for a joint presidency until Sept and then CH alone?
MA: No. Gradually wind done as needed.
Interlude: Sarah M is leaving.
BB: What do you think about databases?
SM gives a thumbs up. BB is satisfied by this response.
AW questions how presidential pre-signs will be allocated.
CH: There will still only be one pre-sign for Trip Leader on each trip.
DH: Being president is collosal amount of work. I haven't been able to do as much as I'd like - fully behind sharing the work.
CP: The thing is to communicate with club to know who is doing what. "This trip is run by..." New position of VP has been suggested in the past.
AP questions whether we are effectively creating a new position. Will two-person presidency be the norm from now on?
DH: This is a question for later. If this works well, perhaps the constitution could be ammended in future.
AW agrees. Interesting to see how it goes.
Voting begins. There are 21 voters expected. Sarah M has left, and Juliette M is voting by proxy through Adrien L.
18 MA&CH, 3 RON
Matt and Chris elected.
Arthur G is standing for election. There are no other candidates.
AG: It’s good to have trips away from Cambridge to destress. Has some experience of committees. No experience of the insurance side, but willing to learn.
There followed questions. Most were directed at Sumita and concerned general transport arrangements.
CP asked for suggestions for persuading people to drive.
CH questions how many people we have able to drive MPVs. The only person aged over 25 is Marie. Several examples of members older than this are suggested to the new president.
AW: Fitting five people in cars is uncomfortable. Can this be avoided.
AG: Five in a car is more cost effective. Has not been in a car (on a trip), so not sure what it's like.
Several people question whether car discomfort is a problem. CP points out that we do not often have excess drivers.
CH says that some amount of discomfort is necessary. “If you're willing to go out in the rain for a weekend...”
DH: We’re limited by drivers. Do we want more people or more luxury for the people that go?
Question about MPVs.
SC: It’s difficult to find drivers. People feel more confident driving cars.
DH: Perhaps despatchers should make more of an effort to put smaller people in cars.
CP: These are not questions...
AC: Should own car drivers get more back than hire car drivers?
This was deferred to AOB, as not specific to Arthur.
20 AG, 1 RON
Arthur G elected.
Anabel M is standing. There are no other candidates.
AM: Asked by DH on Sunday evening, so quite a recent thing. Only concern is that I'll be 3rd year next year, so may have limited time. Confident of being able to organise: currently running two security rotas [?] and boat club things. Good at sending emails and getting people to respond. But will not be able to do lunches, and weekends difficult. If other committee members could help running events on the day, everything is fine.
CH: Have you thought of any exciting events?
A: This year enjoyed formals, lunch with other clubs (ramblers?).
[There is some amount of mumbling at that suggestion.]
SC: There were problems with the Christmas curry this year: some people didn't turn up. Some people didn't get gifts. Could we not do this?
Adrien and PF: In previous years Christmas curry has worked fine.
MA still has a present for Ramya Guranathan, who is not responding to emails.
Sebastian N suggested a random assignment of presents.
CP: That's not how Secret S works...
Adrien: Would you be able to go to formals?
A: Yes. Evenings are fine.
MA: Is Fire Night on the manifesto?
A: It can be.
CP: Do you like baking.
A: I love baking. Is that a requirement?
CP assures her that it is: hillwalking-themed cake for garden party is very important.
A: From other societies, when socials don't happen it's because of communication. I can make that work.
18 Anabel, 3 RON
Anabel is elected.
DH introduces the only contested position. Ben H and Callum R are standing.
BH has been in the club about a year. Would like to get involved in organising more. Reasonable amount of time to look after kit, make sure it gets back to where it belongs. Cutting back on rowing a lot and planning to go on more trips this year.
CR: Safety is one of the most important things - what we do is dangerous. Has experience doing field work in Greenland and other places. Knows the kit – has worked in shops. First year PhD, so has plenty of time on his hands, mostly spent drinking coffee at thte moment. Keeping kit clean is the most important thing. Can drive car (safely), except that one crashed Peugeot...
AP: Why are people competing for this position? Safety takes a lot of time. Why not RON today and run on joint ticket?
AW explains constitutional position: would have to RON today, then wait 7 days for nominations.
No great enthusiasm for this option.
CP: Both have said they have enough time.
AP: Who is closer to 6 Grange Road.
[some discussion of routes around Cambridge]
AP says that a lot of cleaning time is needed. He is still cleaning up after the mice.
MA: Are you willing to go on shorter walks on trips? Have to make sure everyone is on a safe walk and happy.
BH: As far as I’m aware that’s not been a problem with that in the past. Happy to take a shorter walk if needed.
CR: Quite happy to go on short walks. Important SO knows where everyone is going. Part of the job.
PF tells a story about a reckless hillwalker who is about to walk out the door in a state of undress.
CR would slap them around the back of the head. Safely.
BH: Stop them leaving. If routes available, they can sign up or go on their own.
PF tells another story about someone than himself who wants to go on a walk up a knife-edge ridge in a gale. What do you say? Would you be confident enough to say it
BH: I would say no. There are plenty of experienced people around to back up if needed. Expect most people would give in.
CR: Can only ever advise. Can't hold by collar. Advise them of risks and remind them their behaviour reflects on the club. Tell them they don't want to die alone on a knife-edge ridge. If they get stretchered, it looks bad on everyone.
SN: Do you have enough experience to judge route cars, given weather, in winter...?
BH: Reasonable amount of experience, certainly in Summer. Walking in Britain for 5 years. Other members of the club have lots of experience. Would have to ask advice on serious winter walks.
CR: Also done some winter walking, Glen Coe. Judge what people are capable of, tell them in a polite way.
AW: What are your views on climbing on club trips?
CR: No place for climbing on a hillwalking trip.
BH: Not sure what the club's liability is. (PF: as BMC club, we are insured). If competant climbers and weather okay, don't see why this would be problematic.
1 BH, 18 CR, 2 spoilt
Callum R elected.
Ben B is standing. There are no other candidates.
BB: I’ve enjoyed my year getting to know the membership database. Looking forward to the opportunity to get to know GnuCash in a similar way.
There is an awkward silence – it is almost time for refreshments.
21 BB, 0 RON
Ben B elected.
Sarah M is standing, but had to leave earlier on and left no statement. She is a fresher, and has said she likes databases. DH thinks her competant. No further questions are asked.
21 SM, 0 RON
Sarah M is elected.
AC: People driving their own cars are currently allowed the same expenses as hire car drivers. They are not compensated for their extra costs.
[Some discussion of the damage Anthony does to his vehicle.]
DH: People driving their own cars cost the club about half as much as hire cars.
MA: Reasonable to compensate own car drivers by the amount we would pay out on insurance for hrie cars?
AC is happy with that.
DH: Seems to be a consensus that own car drivers should be allowed slightly more in expenses.
AW: 30th anniversary is in 2 years’ time. The incoming committee should begin to make arrangements.
MA: 25th anniversary was organised by a separate committee.
DH: Tom Leach would like to do it.
CH: There probably won't be a 35th.
DH: “If you break the club I'll break you.”
CH clarifies that he does not think 35th a very significant aniversary.
AW proposes a vote of thanks to outgoing committee.
The meeting is closed at 9:15, and refreshments are served.