A record number of MPs and Lords took to the hills on Friday 18 September to walk along the Edale Skyline with the BMC, on the annual walk of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mountaineering.
The Peak District’s Edale Skyline is a classic for hill walkers and runners alike. Along the route.
The walk gave MPs an opportunity to discuss the A new strategy for sport: consultation set out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The strategy looks at how to use sport to improve lives and ensure public funding goes to organisations that can get more people active.
Specifically, MPs were able to reflect on the value of climbing, walking and mountaineering to the health and wellbeing of the nation, and the impact that everyday outdoor recreation can have alongside mainstream sporting activities.
Nine MPs and Peers, including local MP Andrew Bingham (High Peak), walked alongside representatives from leading outdoor organisations such as BMC president Rehan Siddiqui, BMC access officers and colleagues from the Ramblers and the Peak District National Park. The BMC represents a growing membership of over 80,000 keen climbers, mountaineers and hill walkers.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Mountaineering (Mountaineering APPG) is co-chaired by David Rutley MP (Macclesfield) and John Mann MP (Bassetlaw). Other parliamentarians who attended the walking meeting were Lord Haworth, Angela Smith MP (Penistone & Stocksbridge), Derek Twigg MP (Halton), Graham Evans MP (Weaver Vale), Andrew Bingham MP (High Peak), Nia Griffith MP (Llanelli) and Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe).
David Rutley MP, co-chair of the Mountaineering APPG said: “It’s good to see interest in outdoor recreation increasing and the membership of the BMC growing; I think this is a sign that more people are getting outdoors and discovering the adventurous possibilities of our wonderful countryside. Everyday outdoor recreational activities are a positive way to tackle the challenge of physical inactivity and it is great to see more parliamentary champions promoting them.”
"Everyday outdoor recreational activities are a positive way to tackle the challenge of physical inactivity and it is great to see more parliamentary champions promoting them"
The ‘skyline meeting’ also allowed for discussions on how adventure activity and minority sporting activities such as climbing and hill walking can be adequately voiced and supported in the Peak District and beyond. National Parks for example, have been keen to fund new cycle paths and trails but there remains a whole range of needs for other people too. The ‘walk and talk’ meeting will also explore issues such as funding and the challenges now facing the National Park as well as the value of partnership working.
Dr Cath Flitcroft, BMC access & conservation policy officer said: “A large number of MPs are now engaged with the outdoor agenda. We’ll be taking the opportunity to talk to them in an informal setting about a number of local and national issues. We’re keen to highlight the importance of partnership working and explore ideas as to how National Parks can continue to deliver crucial environmental, economic and social benefits to both local communities and the nation.”
The purpose of the Mounatineering APPG is to promote the sporting and recreational interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers; to raise awareness of the physical and social benefits of mountaineering; and to campaign for sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside.
The Access and Conservation Trust
The BMC's charity – the BMC Access & Conservation Trust – promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.
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