It’s an exciting time for the outdoor world. A recent Active Lives Survey revealed that 2.14 million people now go hill walking, climbing or mountaineering twice a month. That’s almost 2 million walkers, around 100,000 outdoor climbers and 170,000 indoor climbers!
Our activities are constantly evolving, and we are too: from nurturing future talent to owning crags for the benefit of everyone; from organising beginners’ climbing courses to raising over £100,000 to help mend the British mountains.
People often call our work a broad church. We even work in one: a converted old church in West Didsbury, Manchester. For hundreds of dedicated volunteers and 31 paid staff, this is the hub for a diverse range of activities to help everyone get more out of climbing, hill walking and mountaineering. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a passionate indoor boulderer or a committed long-distance walker, you’ll find that our work benefits you. After all, we’re all connected by a shared love of adventure, whether that’s found on a chalky crimp or a windswept mountain.
"We’re all connected by a shared love of adventure, whether that’s found on a chalky crimp or a windswept mountain"
Yet, as on any adventure, we face a real challenge: of growing our membership in line with participation trends and keeping the BMC relevant for current and future walkers and climbers. Mobile technology, new bouldering walls, cuts to national park budgets, the 2020 Olympics, lifestyle and social habits will impact on all of us – more than we can ever imagine. We need to be agile; we need to adapt to this changing environment whilst solidly defending our shared core values. Yet, at the same time, we are facing a 40% cut in our Sport England grant funding, which will surely affect our work.
Luckily, facing challenges is nothing new to us. We’ve been squaring up to them, on and off the mountain, for over 70 years. Consequently, the modern BMC is rather unique: part your representative body, part campaigning organisation, part environmental pressure group, part land manager – and all so that you’re free to just get out there. In our exciting world, we can all find our natural home: from swinging axes to getting pumped on plastic, placing nuts to standing on summits. Our diversity is our strength.
The photo is of BMC walking ambassador Mary-Ann Ochota. Mary-Ann is an adventurer who's as happy indoor bouldering as trekking in the Saraha. She's now hooked on Scottish winter climbing and can't wait to tackle the Cuillin Ridge this year.
Welsh Weekender: the BMC AGM 2017
Want to have your say in how the BMC is run? Join us in the heart of Snowdonia for the BMC’s annual gathering: 22 April, Plas y Brenin, Capel Curig, North Wales.
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