History of W&CS
Originally established in 1932 as the Mountaineering Section, W&CS is the oldest special interest section in the Camping and Caravanning Club.
The Section has now evolved to focus its activities around camping, caravanning, walking and cycling.
"In 1987, my father Derek Wood, a Camping & Caravanning Club National Councillor, was asked to produce a report for the Club's National Council that would suggest ways in which the old Mountaineering Section could be revived.
The Section was at this time quite small and its few remaining elderly members mainly inactive.
His vision for reviving the Section was one which would attract those who enjoyed outdoor activities such as hillwalking, climbing and cycling in beautiful areas of the UK. In particular he wanted to attract families, and to do so the perception of the Section as an elitist bunch of hardened mountain men would be best overcome by renaming it. After much deliberation the name Mountain Activity Section (MAS) was suggested, as he felt this truly summed up his vision, whilst still maintaining the historical mountain link to the old Section.
His report was given approval and on 8th August 1987 and an inaugural meeting was held standing in a barn at Stonefolds Farm Newbiggin near Penrith."
Andrew Wood, W&CS President
Derek Wood, third from the right in the yellow, green and blue top, about to depart from the Northern Area’s meet at Torver in 1992 for a group ride over Walna Scar Pass.
By Spring 1988 the Northern and Peakland Areas were established with full committees and work was ongoing to set up what would become the Wessex Area.
The mid 1990’s represented the heyday of MAS with Derek Wood’s report as National Secretary in 1995 stating;
"During the last camping season over 100 camping meets have been organised plus four T.H.S. and other special meets".
In 1995 a newly formed Scottish Area and Wales and the Marches Area organised programmes of meets in addition to the extant Northern, Peakland and Wessex Areas. Furthermore the South Central Area organised a series of winter walks.
MAS evolved over the years to focus on walking and cycling as the outdoor activities promoted at meets. However there was growing concern amongst members that the Section name was no longer representative of the activities undertaken at meets and discouraged potential new members.
A motion to change the name of the Section was debated at the Section AGM in 2014. The motion received majority support but fell just short of the necessary two thirds majority to be carried.
In 2018 the Peakland and Wessex Areas carried motions at their AGM’s to change their names to the Peakland Walking and Cycling Area and the Wessex Walking and Cycling Area respectively. Approval of the Area name changes was refused by the Club’s Management and Administration Committees as they did not agree with changing the Area names before changing the Section name.
The Wessex Area Committee subsequently sought support from Members for submitting a Motion to change the name to the Walking and Cycling Section for consideration at the Section AGM in 2019.
There was also some concern amongst members that those unable to attend the Section AGM could not have a say in decisions made at the meeting. Section Chair Trev Masters was instrumental in taking up this matter with the Sections Forum and persuading the Club to allow proxy voting for Motions at Section AGMs.
At the Section AGM held on 4th May 2019 at Beckford Village Hall in Worcestershire the name change proposal was put to members. This was the first occasion that proxy voting was used at any Camping & Caravanning Club Section AGM. The name change Motion received overwhelming support from members with more than 85% of the votes, by proxy and in person, being in favour.
The name change was subsequently approved by the Club’s National Council at their meeting on 7th September 2019.