As climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, we know how important it is to pick the right partners. Today, the BMC have confirmed two sponsors as part of our new and wider commercial partner programme. The announcement comes at a time when participation in hill walking continues to increase, and GB Climbing preparation for Paris 2024 builds.
Cotswold Outdoor, the national outdoor kit retailer which also runs the Snow+Rock facia, is confirmed as one of two top-tier ‘Premium Partners’ and ‘Official Outdoor Retailer’ of the BMC. The partnership builds on a relationship between the two organisations going back a number of years where, more recently, Cotswold Outdoor have supported the BMC’s campaigns and activities including ‘Mend Our Mountains,’ a project to repair footpaths in some of the country’s most popular walking locations.
La Sportiva, the Italian high performance footwear brand is confirmed as ‘Official Footwear Supplier’ for the BMC and GB Climbing, which encompasses all areas of La Sportiva activity – Mountain, Hike, Running and Climb. Initially they will be focussed on supporting and activation around key national competitions including the National Boulder Championships and National Lead and Speed Championships.
The latest Sport England Active Lives report shows that hill and mountain walking has continued to grow, experiencing a larger boom than any of the other 80 sports or activities measured in the survey of almost 180,000 people. Regular participation in hill and mountain walking now stands at 3.58 million, up from 3.39 million last year. The figures show an increase of 40% since the data was first collected in 2015/16, when just 2.46 million reported regular participation.
Growth was also seen in the ‘Adventure Sports’ category, which also includes Climbing and Bouldering, seeing a rise from last year, with a total of approximately 278k people now participating.
As a recent addition to the Olympic family, sport climbing continues to grow in popularity alongside the infrastructure for the national team run by GB Climbing. With its first appearance in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the team are looking ahead to Paris 2024 and LA 2028 and to becoming a world-leading sport climbing nation.
Gavin Finch, Chief Commercial Officer at the BMC, the national representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers - with over 80,000 members, said; “We are incredibly excited to announce these two partners at this significant time for the BMC, GB Climbing and the climbing, walking and mountaineering community.
“As participation in our activities and interest in sport/competition climbing grows it’s important we maintain and grow the connection with our communities as we continue to represent and support people to take part safely, responsibly and sustainably. We can’t do that alone and working with like-minded brands and organisations that share our values and goals is key and we look forward to building our family of partners.
“We have spent some time establishing a clear programme that provides organisations opportunities to partner with us in a number of ways. We welcome these partners into the BMC family and look forward to working in collaboration over the next few years.”
Jose Finch, Managing Director of Cotswold Outdoor (O&CC), said: “We’re proud to partner with the BMC and supporting their members and campaigns like Mend our Mountains is a high priority for us.* In 2019 we launched our sustainability program, and protecting the outdoors is at its core. We pride ourselves on offering our customers the best brands and products coupled with a personalised experience provided by our in-store experts, to ensure our customers make the right kit choices for them, and for the planet. The outdoors is our greatest asset and biggest playground, but we must be responsible, ensuring it’s protected for future generations to enjoy. Supporting partners like the BMC is in our DNA and authentic to our values and our mission.”
Chris Gordon, Marketing Manager at Lyon Equipment, distributor for La Sportiva said: “We are proud to be supporting the vital work of the BMC, from protecting our access and mountain environments, to developing the next generation of performance climbing athletes, the BMC are essential to the development of our sport. We look forward to working together to further these shared goals.”