Jo Dytch becomes first woman appointed as Chair of organisation, just months after Anne Butler announced as first female President.

Mountaineering Scotland – the representative organisation for hill walkers, climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers in Scotland – has announced Jo Dytch as the new Chair of the Board, becoming the first woman to hold the position.

Jo, who has been the Director of Clubs at Mountaineering Scotland for the past six years, was voted in unanimously by the Board. She said: "I'm delighted to be appointed as the Chair of Mountaineering Scotland. Working alongside the Board and wider staff team over the last few years has been a huge privilege, and one I take great pride in being part of.

“Personally, hill walking in Scotland is a passion of mine, and I love exploring our wild places. Over the last few years, we have seen a real shift in the number of women joining us, heading to the hills and taking part in our skills courses. I'm thrilled to be part of that movement, both as a member of the Board and as a woman who loves spending time in the Scottish Mountains.”

She joins newly elected President Anne Butler, the experienced and well-known hillwalker who recently ‘compleated’ two Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) Full Houses, a feat which saw her become the first-known woman to undertake two full rounds of Munros, Munro Tops, Corbetts, Grahams, Donalds and Furths. 

Anne said: “I am extremely proud to be elected as President of Mountaineering Scotland and honoured to be the first woman to hold the position. Over the last 25 years, hillwalking has kept me physically and mentally strong and I have developed a deep connection with the mountain landscape. I now feel it is time to give something back.

“I believe that time spent amongst the hills and mountains will improve a person’s resilience, self-confidence, and well-being, and I am keen to show that women of any age and athletic ability can access the hills. 

“I would like to act as a role model and use my own personal experiences to help and support women to overcome the real and self-imposed barriers that may be deterring them from enjoying time in the mountains.”

The appointments are part of Mountaineering Scotland’s commitment towards equality, diversity and inclusion, something that is echoed in the organisation’s updated ED&I Policy, which was adopted after a vote by members at the 2023 AGM. 

Stuart Younie, CEO of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “Our AGM in 2023 was a milestone in the history of our organisation. Not only did members vote to approve our updated Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy, but they also voted to appoint the first woman as President of Mountaineering Scotland, while the Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint our first female Chair.

“I couldn’t think of a better advocate for encouraging people to get into the hills than Anne Butler, and I have seen the positive impact Jo Dytch has made over the last six years in her role as Director for Clubs. 

“I am looking forward to working with them both and excited to begin this new chapter in the history of Mountaineering Scotland.