Climb Britain: the facts

Posted by Peter Burnside on 25/07/2016

Since we announced the start of our journey to Climb Britain, we’ve had some great responses on UKclimbing, Twitter and Facebook. Some positive, some negative – and all passionate.

Amongst this social media storm, there are a few common questions that keep cropping up – here are the answers. If you’ve got any more questions, please get in touch and we’ll add them to this list.

What was wrong with the name BMC?
We were set up in 1944 as the British Mountaineering Council. Whilst this name has served us well, there’s no getting away from that fact that it was dating. Consequently, we often just used the acronym BMC. If you’re in the know, this is fine, but we were one of the few representative sporting bodies left who used an acronym. British Mountaineering Council (BMC) made it hard for us to connect with younger people: only 10,628 of our 82,536 members are under 25.

What about the hill walkers?
We firmly believe that “Climb Britain” is more welcoming to hill walkers than “Mountaineering Council” and this is backed by our Hill Walking Working Group. Our Hill Walking Officer supports it and our independent director and walker Brian Smith is fully on board. Britain’s mountains have never been climbed by so many people and the vast majority of those people are walkers. Climb Britain doesn’t specify what type of climbing you might enjoy; you can climb hills or mountains, rocks or ice, indoors or boulder, and we’ll still continue to promote your interests.

READ: What Climb Britain means for walkers by Carey Davies, BMC hill walking officer 

Don’t you think “Mountaineering” is better?
While mountaineering is a good name, it isn’t all encompassing, and we wanted to reach more of our members than our old name allowed. The number of activities that our members enjoy is no longer just related to the mountains, it includes bouldering, indoor climbing, deep-water soloing, dry tooling and many more. Also, many hill walkers and rock climbers don’t think of themselves as mountaineers.

Did our subs pay for it?
All of the consultancy work leading up to the Climb Britain announcement has been funded by Sport England. The change will be phased in over the next 12 months to minimise further costs, many of which are covered by the natural cycle of replacement.

Why weren’t members part of the decision-making process?
Major decisions are made by the Executive Committee (the Board of Directors) and the National Council, both comprised of elected volunteers. The rebranding proposal was unanimously agreed by the BMC Board of Directors on 18 May. It then went to the National Council meeting on 18 June, where it was agreed 19 for, 1 abstention (due to being a new member) and 0 against.

Will this affect the ownership of BMC crags and land?
No. While our public identity is now Climb Britain, the formal company name remains British Mountaineering Council.

Is it to get Olympic funding?
No. This decision is not connected to the Olympic bid – although it has come around at a similar time. The consultation was funded by Sport England who fund grass roots, mass participation and non-elite level sport. UK Sport covers the top end of Britain’s sporting pathway: supporting athletes and sports to compete and win medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Does this name reflect more focus on indoor climbing?
No. These days, climbing, walking and mountaineering are a very broad cathedral of people. But what we have in common is a love for challenge, adventure, and the fact that we all climb stuff. Our work for everyone who climbs hills, rock, indoors, ice and mountains remains unchanged.

Will it affect me getting a discount in alpine huts?
It shouldn’t. Most huts would need to see your Reciprocal Rights card, not the BMC membership card to get the discount. However, this use is something we’ll bear in mind when designing the new membership cards.


Read more about Climb Britain

BMC to change its name to Climb Britain
After more than 70 years as the British Mountaineering Council, we’ve decided to move with the times and unite all our members under one 'Climb' banner.

Climb Britain: the facts
We take a look at the facts behind the change to Climb Britain.

What does Climb Britain mean for walkers?
Changing to Climb Britain won't affect our work for walkers – find out more.

Climb Britain: a personal message from BMC CEO Dave Turnbull
Dave Turnbull gives a behind-the-scenes look at the process.

Climb Britain: Update from the BMC
It's been a rocky ride this last few days, and it's probably fair to say we didn’t quite anticipate the level of interest there would be in our Climb Britain announcement.


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31
Anonymous User
25/07/2016
Isn't this something as fundamental as the name constitutional matter?
How many of the Members did those 'on-board' committee members consult ?
Have you seen what's happening to the EU ?

Commenting on:
" Why weren’t members part of the decision-making process?
Major decisions are made by the Executive Committee (the Board of Directors) and the National Council, both comprised of elected volunteers. The rebranding proposal was unanimously agreed by the BMC Board of Directors on 18 May. It then went to the National Council meeting on 18 June, where it was agreed 19 for, 1 abstention (due to being a new member) and 0 against.
"
Anonymous User
25/07/2016
I'm sorry, but I think you were wrong not to consult the wider membership on such a fundemental and important change. The BMC is at its heart a democratic, grassroots organisation, and this change goes against these principles. At the very least, it should have been mentioned at the AGM.
Anonymous User
25/07/2016
I notice you said some positive responses and some negative responses. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it looks to be at 10% good news 90% bad news split.
25/07/2016
Well the Alpine Club must be a bit outdated by now, and besides they climb all over the world, so perhaps some focus group could rebrand their name!
Anonymous User
25/07/2016
I've read the Facebook comments so far, and they are almost all against this change, for good reasons. I do hope the BMC executive read the comments too.
25/07/2016
Goodbye BMC, I'll not be renewing my membership to fund an organisation that has become increasingly bureaucratic, UN-democratic and dismissive of its membership's wishes. Hope the Olympic funding was worth the loss of members and credibility.

Matt Ferris (soon to be ex) BMC member.
26/07/2016
Would a government change policy without at least discussing with its party members? OK this isn't a policy change but a rebranding of which I don't really see the need. The BMC whether an acronym or not is a known entity worldwide by young and old (define old!). So why the rebranding to try and bring in the younger generation? It is what it is and served us well since its start. We don't have much identity left in this modern society so why get rid of another......
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
Quite like the name change.
Walkers climb mountains.
Julie Andrews climbed every mountain, walking every mountain wouldn't have the same resonance.
Similarly when we have a challenge we don't say we have a mountain to walk.
Climbing, however you do it is about getting out and up.
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
Whether or not Climb Britain or any other name is best for the organisation will always be controversial and it is unlikely that a consensus would ever be reached without significant disagreement. However, the process which has been applied show enormous contempt for the whole BMC membership. It is inexcusable for the Executive Committee and National Council to have decided this may a decision of this magnitude without informing the membership well in advance to allow debate, discussion and lobbying. How can the Executive Committee and National Council claim to have represented the view of the membership that elected them on a subject which they have not canvassed opinion and about which there has been no public debate with the wider membership? In the circumstances it is questionable whether the positions of those representatives can be considered to remain tenable.
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
Seems reasonable that the Executive Committee/National Council make major decisions. But I think they may have crossed a line by proposing, validating and approving a decision that re-defines the position of an organisation with paying members without consulting the membership as to whether a decision was required in the first place.
Alex Messenger(staff comment)
26/07/2016
Hi everyone.

Many thanks for all the comments. If you'd like your comment to get published without moderation, please login. We have to moderate each individual anonymous comment, which does take time.

There have been lots of questions about changing to Climb Britain, so have a read of these articles:

A personal message from BMC CEO Dave Turnbull
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/climb-britain-a-personal-message-from-bmc-ceo-dave-turnbull

Climb Britain: the facts
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/climb-britain-the-facts

What does Climb Britain mean for walkers?
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/what-climb-britain-means-for-walkers
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
Interesting to note that of 10 Anonymous User comments today the only one that isn't awaiting moderation is positive about the change of name (yet was the 8th anonymous user comment posted). I know that at least one of the comments awaiting moderation does not contravene the moderation rules, but does criticise the Executive Committee and National Council's approach to this issue. Maybe this comment will also find itself awaiting moderation?
26/07/2016
I'm not one to post in the public domain, but you've riled me here.

You've been "consulting" on this for 9 months, and in that time not a single mention in any area meeting minutes that I could find - to admit you haven't considered it "representative" to even consult area committees is disappointing. Additionally I think the change is going to cause long term issues wrt the excellent access work the BMC does (land owners aren't going to take climbBritain seriously).

Having this evening skimmed the posts on FB and UKC, I would estimate 80-90% of posts are negative - does this tell you anything?

Personally I think of climbing as a subset of mountaineering (I don't climb hills, and I can't see who you can relate climbing to skiing), and I have always seen myself as more of a mountaineer than a climber - if you had been called climbBritain when I joined in 95, I probably wouldn't have. If you go ahead with this change I will most likely cancel the direct debit (since I am not prepared to keep funding an organisation unwilling to listen to its membership nor one I feel no longer properly represents me).
27/07/2016
I suppose we all climb out of bed in the morning.
Anonymous User
27/07/2016
I think of myself as more of a mountaineer than a climber
Sincerely,
18 yr old
Anonymous User
27/07/2016
Why wasn't the name change discussed at the AGM?
28/07/2016
This has to be reviewed. For an organisation like the BMC to act so unilaterally and without consultation is going to irreparably damage so much of the good will on which it is dependent. If there is a sound economic argument, even if this is based on securing funding for indoor competitions, then come clean and put it to a vote.

I think people could be persuaded if there was some transparency in this, but it currently looks like a total fix.

The BMC is at the heart of UK climbing and to take that away without asking the membership is vastly overstepping the mark of common decency.

Franco Cookson
28/07/2016
This has to be reviewed. For an organisation like the BMC to act so unilaterally and without consultation is going to irreparably damage so much of the good will on which it is dependent. If there is a sound economic argument, even if this is based on securing funding for indoor competitions, then come clean and put it to a vote.

I think people could be persuaded if there was some transparency in this, but it currently looks like a total fix.

The BMC is at the heart of UK climbing and to take that away without asking the membership is vastly overstepping the mark of common decency.

Franco Cookson
Anonymous User
28/07/2016
Pleased to see that the formal name is still to be BMC as it describes exactly what the BMC is and does; Climb Britain does not. I hope this is not to do with the rather patronizing trend ( at some level of consciousness or other) to assume we no longer have the intellectual capacity or attention span to cope with an eight syllable name and so it must be changed. British Mountaineering Council may be a bit clunky but everyone terms it BMC in general use and it is recognised by all who need to, just as BBC or RAC. I would prefer to say I am a member of the BMC than of Climb Britain. I expect I will as that will be the formal name of the outfit. But as the trading name British Climbing will be the up front name and thus the most obvious. For non members particularly the two names will be confusing What might Climb Britain imply; An on line magazine: a shop; a holiday or guiding outfit? Probably "yes" to all as the trading name but it will obscure the importance of its 70 year old, world influential parent. Will we want to abbreviate it? What will BC mean - British Columbia; British Council: Before Christ? Apart from an implication that it refers to climbing in Britain only I'm not worried that there may be adverse implications for any subset of members such as walkers, but it all seems so pointless.

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts
28/07/2016
'We were set up in 1944 as the British Mountaineering Council. Whilst this name has served us well, there’s no getting away from that fact that it was dating. Consequently, we often just used the acronym BMC. If you’re in the know, this is fine, but we were one of the few representative sporting bodies left who used an acronym.'
So don't use a bloody acronym!
'Why weren’t members part of the decision-making process? Major decisions are made by the Executive Committee (the Board of Directors) and the National Council, both comprised of elected volunteers.'

And the opportunity for members to brief their area reps?
Anonymous User
31/07/2016
New name :: AWFUL!! as a staff member of the BMC when we moved from London to Manchester
I am horrified. I have always been proud of my past involvement. I do not think I would be proud of being a staff member of this new (proposed) organisation.
My club, the Merseyside Mountaineering Club, sends almost half of membership fees to the BMC, I have in mind to propose at our AGM that we end our club membership after 55 years. The thousands of pounds we pay could be used to far better benefit of our members. The important benefits, e.g. club insurance, can be obtained elsewhere and probably at a lower cost.
If our members wish to become individual members of the BMC - fine, but I suspect it will be a small number.
Frederick Smith (ex Secretary to the Mountain Leadership Scheme)

Anonymous User
05/08/2016
I too am not happy with these new ‘developments’. I see them as an attempt to be trendy but which has turned out to be merely naff. I sense that the inclusion in the next Olympic Games of competition climbing – essentially vertical gymnastics and nothing to do with mountaineering – has some bearing on this unfortunate change of house style. Is the BMC trying perhaps to join – or at least ape – the array of Governing Bodies of Competitive Sports? And in so doing attract Government money.
We should not forget the remit of the BMC. It is a Council, a forum, originally of climbing clubs and in due course also of individual members, acting together where appropriate, in the interests of all whose game takes them to the crags, the hills and the mountains. It is NOT a ‘Governing Body’, not only because of its constitution but especially because our anarchistic game is ungovernable. Not a Competitive Sport, it has no finite rules and its conduct relies on the conscience, good sense and individual ambitions of its participants.
The sole exception is in the case of Competition Climbing, in Britain thankfully restricted to the indoors, which obviously does require regulation, for the provision of which the BMC is possibly the least inappropriate body.
( Now here’s a thought : perhaps Competition Climbing, so alien to our game, should be transferred to the aegis of British Gymnastics? Then the BMC could forget the Olympics and keeping up with the likes of Beach Volleyball England, and concentrate on what it was founded to do )
Neither should the BMC dabble in Business, although in the interests of its members it’s surely legitimate to indulge in a limited amount of commerce solely to provide useful services, notably insurance, to its members.
As happened in 1973, it appears that the BMC might again be exceeding its remit?
Thus many questions require answers : Why was a new house style deemed necessary in the first place? Why was the membership not consulted? Why was the exercise kept a closely-guarded secret until presented as a fait accompli? How much did it cost?
Did services to members suffer as a result of this cost?
Why – and how– is the BMC involved in the 2020 Olympics?
Has the membership been consulted on this exercise? John Cleare (should I add that I served on the BMC Executive in the early '70s but resigned over the 1973 excesses)
Anonymous User
05/08/2016
Unable to attend the area meeting to discuss my thoughts on the rebranding.
How about another option for those who cannot attend but wish to comment?
Email for me would be fine. I will however be asking to keep the name BMC.
It's known the world over and is well respected.
Anonymous User
06/08/2016
What is the evidence to support the claim that "many hill walkers and rock climbers don’t think of themselves as mountaineers" and the implication that more people will identify with Climb Britain? Mountaineering already encompasses a multitude of activities in a way that I fear Climb Britain may not. Yes, we need to reach out and welcome more people with a shared love of the mountains, but this is not the way to do it and comes across as trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Anonymous User
22/08/2016
I'm afraid I don't like the new name much. It smacks of change for change's sake to me, to be like other similar rebranded organisations: "Sport England", "Police Scotland", "Modern Art Oxford" (!) are the ones that spring to mind for me (I am Scottish living in Oxford!). Oh yes, and "Visit Britain", the British tourism agency. It sounds more like a command than a club! It seems that these and similar organisations don't want to admit that they are a group of people with similar interests, but some sort of exciting, all-action campaign. To me, fewer words in the title does not necessarily mean better! It may be the verbal zeitgeist, but I don't like it. BMC was fine by me. Cheers, Benji
Anonymous User
22/08/2016
I'm afraid I don't like the new name much. It smacks of change for change's sake to me, to be like other similar rebranded organisations: "Sport England", "Police Scotland", "Modern Art Oxford" (!) are the ones that spring to mind for me (I am Scottish living in Oxford!). Oh yes, and "Visit Britain", the British tourism agency. It sounds more like a command than a club! It seems that these and similar organisations don't want to admit that they are a group of people with similar interests, but some sort of exciting, all-action campaign. To me, fewer words in the title does not necessarily mean better! It may be the verbal zeitgeist, but I don't like it. BMC was fine by me. Cheers, Benji
31/08/2016
Why are we waiting for comments from 12 August to still be moderated on 31 August. And this is occuring on not only this but other threads. Can we have the comments put up please. Is the moderator on holiday and noone covering?
09/09/2016
Mountaineering is all inclusive - climbing is not.

Drop the name change.
14/09/2016
I have been a member of various mountaineering clubs for over 50 years and doubt if I gave ever felt so angry about a decision made by one of them as I do about this decision.
You should be representing your existing members, only a minute fraction of whom have any interest in competition climbing, jingoistic and commercial enterprises and so on.
I intend to cancel my BMC membership as the organisation is obviously no longer relevant to my love of the mountains.

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