The BMC Yorkshire Area has elected Chris Wright as its new volunteer Hill Walking Representative.
This is the first appointment of a BMC Area Rep with the particular role of supporting hill walking, although other BMC Areas do have volunteers who are keen hill walkers. We hope to see the position rolled out across all the BMC Areas during the coming year.
We asked Chris a few questions about his hill walking interests and his thoughts on his new role.
What are your outdoor interests?
I’m a science teacher and Head of Outdoor Pursuits at a boarding school in the Yorkshire Dales. I re-trained a couple of years ago, studying Outdoor Education at Moray House, Edinburgh University, specifically to facilitate young peoples’ learning in the great outdoors. We do a lot with our pupils in the local environment: climbing, caving, hill walking, mountain biking and kayaking. I’m a biologist so I have an interest in natural habitats, wildlife and conservation issues as well as physiology and fitness. My main pursuits are climbing, running, skiing and winter mountaineering. I’m becoming a keen fell runner and like endurance events like the OMM, although they don't like me! I hold the Winter ML and SPA and have a passion for most things outdoors. I’ve led overseas Youth Expeditions in the past, mostly with British Schools Exploring Society (BSES).
When did you join the BMC and why?
I joined about 12 years ago, essentially to support the BMC’s work and to plug into an information network. I’ve also previously taken out BMC insurance.
What do you think hill walkers in general think of the BMC?
I guess that the average hill walker thinks that the BMC is for mountaineers scrambling over dangerous steep mountains and not so much for the average hill walker.
What specifically would you like to see the BMC doing for hill walkers in Yorkshire?
A few of the things I’d like to help with are to provide an information service, keep walkers informed of access and conservation issues, promote the BMC and encourage keen walkers to gain a Mountain Leader award if they are interested. It’s not unusual to start off hill walking, then progress to scrambling, climbing and then onto more serious mountaineering, so for many people, Hill walking can be the first step on the ladder. So, gaining good training, as well as experience is essential for safety and ultimately enjoyment. Gaining mountaineering leadership qualifications is also a good way to meet like minded people and, in some circumstances, earn a living.
I’ve volunteered into the unknown somewhat as it’s the first time the post has been filled. I’m keen to feel my way in and just see where it goes. I don’t have masses of time to give but I will endeavour to attend the 4 area meetings per year and report any issues that arise. It's good to be involved with the BMC.
What is your favourite walk?
Too many to mention but I love the Scottish Highlands. If I had to choose one I’d say A'Mhaighdean on the west coast of Scotland - one of the remotest Munros with stunning views! However, Tryfan is my favourite in Wales, especially via the north ridge and more locally, I’d go for Ingleborough which is a magnificent mountain in many respects.
If you’re reading this and would like to get involved as a Hill Walking Rep for your BMC Area please talk to your Area Chair.
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