Wondering what happens to your membership money? Here are a few ways that we made your cash count last year.
1. Standing up for outdoor recreation
The great outdoors is Britain’s greatest natural resource; a source of happiness and health to thousands of us, as well as the key to a strong rural economy. Yes, you knew that already, but the trick is getting the bods in Westminster to realise it. That’s why we teamed up with 10 other organisations to launch our campaign to get outdoor recreation recognised at the top level in June last year. Following on from that, we launched the Outdoor Election campaign in the run-up to the general election, an attempt to get key issues around the outdoors on to the election agenda.
Now the election is done and dusted, we are trying to capitalise on the momentum created by our campaigning work, as the BMC's Vice President Nick Kurth explains. "The key thing is now to push the idea of an all-encompassing strategy for outdoor recreation to the new government," he says.
"The first point of contact will be through the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mountaineering, for which the BMC is the secretary. The next meeting is coming up in June, which will be attended by the BMC President, Rehan Siddiqui, along to with representatives from the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA). "
Keep an eye on the BMC website for more updates.
2. Campaigning to protect and promote Britain’s landscapes
Our outdoor recreation campaigning isn’t the only way we’re making walkers’ voices heard in parliament. Last year, we joined forces with 27 other organisations and charities from across the country to promote the Landscapes for Everyone campaign, which aims to convince the government of the importance of protecting and enhancing our landscapes. The coalition - the largest ever to have been formed on this issue - includes the National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Wilderness Foundation.
“Our beautiful landscapes provide not only outside spaces for people to enjoy, they are also valuable in their own right and integral to tourism, to rural economic growth and to people’s health and wellbeing,” said Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science, Lord de Mauley, who supported the vision in parliament. “I want to see our countryside continuing to contribute to the economy, whilst ensuring our much valued landscapes remain protected.”
Keen to get involved? Concerned about a particular issue affecting our natural environment? Grassroots campaigning with the BMC is the first step towards change.
3. Addressing the ‘Snowdon problem’
If you’re a regular visitor to Wales’ highest then you can’t fail to be aware of the problems caused by booming visitor numbers. The mountain attracted 477,000 walkers in 2013 - an increase of 23% on the previous year. The result was parking problems, congestion, avoidable callouts to rescue teams and litter, which is why the BMC has called for a well-funded, long-sighted strategy to tackle the issues. Instead of focussing on path building and markers, we’d like to see an approach that rests on educating walkers.
“It is wrong to say that paths, summits or any other physical aspect of the mountain environment are inherently dangerous,” said Jon Garside, BMC training officer. “The key factor is people themselves and their ability to deal with the hazards they encounter. To stay safe people must be taught to rely on their heads, not cues provided by artificial pointers.”
We followed up a hard-hitting article, which attracted national news coverage, with a meeting at the Llanberis Mountain Film Festival aimed at debating the issues.
4. Producing a raft of inspirational videos for hill walkers
There’s no substitute for getting out on the hill, but we’d like to think that BMC TV’s increasing selection of inspirational and informative videos comes a pretty close second.
If you’re keen to boost your hill skills then check out our ropework series for advanced scramblers - a far better way to learn the ropes (you knew that was coming, right?) than by sifting through dry articles. To keep you walking through winter, we also launched a series of snowy videos focussing on everything from putting on crampons to cutting steps and ice axe arrests.
The videos we were most proud of last year, though, were pure, unadulterated inspiration. Together with the nice chaps at Trail magazine, we launched a series on Britain’s Mountain Challenges. Each one profiles one of the country’s most legendary scrambles, with Jack’s Rake, the Llech Ddu Spur and Tryfan among those featured. For something a little more whimsical, check out iWalk or the award-winning Where Walking Took Me by Jen Randall.
5. Offering subsidised Active Outdoors courses
Hundreds of BMC members were given the chance to improve their hill walking, scrambling and winter skills last year through our subsidised Active Outdoors courses in Snowdonia. All members benefit from discounted courses through the scheme, with everything from a basic Head for the Hills course to more advanced Scrambling - Leave the beaten track and Winter Skills - Confidence to go out in the hills courses on offer.
Most of our Active Outdoors courses are run by Plas y Brenin and subsidised by Sport England, although we also delivered a series of one-day basic skills courses for walkers last year in partnership with the National Trust.
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WATCH: What does the BMC do for hill walkers?
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