The 2019 AGM of the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs was hosted at Slieve Gullion by Armagh Rambling Club. The morning started early with 60 attendees from a number of affiliated clubs. Outgoing chairperson Graham Seymour was reflective of the change ahead for the organisation as he passed the torch onto new chair Joe McKnight.
Derek Clements was re-elected as Honorary Secretary and Alan McFarland as Honorary Treasurer. All serving officers were re-elected. New officers elected on the day were, William Mitchell from Kilbroney Ramblers, Eileen Carson and Paul McCann from East Antrim Rambling Club, and Anna Lo from Belfast CHA Rambling Club.
Stephen Garvin, chair of the hosting Armagh Rambling Club provided a brief history of the club. The club was inaugurated in 1993 with some of those members still actively participating in the club. Since then the club has gone from strength to strength drawing in members from all over, including as far away as Dublin. The great thing about Armagh is the ease of access to the Mournes, Monaghan, Sperrins, Cooleys, and of course the Ring of Gullion. The club strives to offer many benefits such as fitness, the great outdoors, and good company.
Following Stephen a presentation was given by the Gap o’ the North Walking Club. Deirdre Toner and Margaret McNamee provided a good insight to this unique club which has been going since 2011. The club deliberately avoid higher A Level walks, instead offering a B and two C Level walks to ensure that everybody and anybody can take part. The club is a safe place for many with mental and physical wellbeing put to the fore. The club also have a close relationship with the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership.
This section led to a presentation by Therese Hamill from the Partnership. The organisation work in the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Therese gave a brief overview of the formation of this unique ring dyke landscape. The partnership oversees the delivery many project focussed on community, conservation and tourism.
After lunch two walks were offered a short loop of the forest and a second walk to the summit of Slieve Gullion.
The 2019-2020 UFRC Executive Committee is comprised of officers from the following clubs: Armagh Rambling Club; Belfast CHA Rambling Club; Dungannon and District Rambling Club; East Antrim Rambling Club; Glens of Antrim Rambling Club; Kilbroney Rambling Club; Maine Rambling Club; Mid Ulster Walking Club; Mourne Rambling Group; Spartan Red Sox; and Wee Binnian Walkers.