Stephen is a Pembrokeshire area volunteer who has been a local access rep for over 15 years.
Are you a climber or a hill walker?
I would mainly call myself a climber although have been known to walk hills. My ML logbook consisted largely of walks to climbing spots. I also enjoy a bit of fell running and orienteering which could be classified as hill walking on the slow bits.
What is the highlight of your climbing/hill walking/mountaineering?
Highlights are many; soloing 'Left Wall' many years ago was quite a buzz but more recently, its all the new routes and the discovery of amazing unclimbed lines on Pembrokeshire Sea Cliffs. 'The Mark of Zorro' (E5) on St. David's Head is probably still awaiting a second ascent and was an epic finishing in the dark type of adventure, also 'Maximus Molementum' (E4) at Penally was a recent re-discovery of an awesome line on an esoteric crag.
Why did you choose to get involved with the BMC?
I think I 'got volunteered' as is the case with a lot of BMC volunteers. My role of Local Access rep for Pembroke came about when the late and great Dee de Mengel gave up the position to go and sail round the world. As I had been involved with guidebook work and had a pretty good knowledge of the area plus contacts with conservation bodies through the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group, I was in a good position to take on the role.
What do you do at the BMC and what impact has this had?
I have been a local access rep for somewhere around 15 years now (not sure about this) and a couple of years ago got volunteered to become an area rep for Cymru South alongside Will Kilner. As Pembroke access rep, my main role is to be the link between climbers and conservation bodies and landowners, trying to ensure we can continue to access the amazing crags around here and ensuring any seasonal, and other restrictions are sensible. Most of the time this is pretty straightforward and we have built up good relationships over the years so that climbers are welcomed and have a strong voice locally.
Since joining the National Council, I have worked on setting up the Partners Assembly as part of the Organisational Review and am just about to get involved in the BMC Cymru/Wales Committee which we hope will give the BMC a bit more influence with the Welsh Government. As an area rep (now working with C J Griffiths) I try to represent the views of the average climber and walker on the Members' Council and help to communicate between the area and the Council. This is sometimes really interesting work although sometimes can be a tad dull when the sun is shining and we are stuck in 9 hour meetings. However, it is always impressive and refreshing to see the incredible expertise that comes from a huge number of volunteers across England and Wales that makes the BMC tick.
What would you recommend to people looking to volunteer at the BMC?
When taking on a volunteer role, I would say that you need to think of it as a 3 year process as a minimum. The first year will probably be a bit daunting and you probably won't understand everything that is going on - don't worry - this is normal. In the second year you will be starting to make a significant contribution and in the third year, you will gain the confidence to argue your points, help out others and start to enjoy the role and recognise your value to the climbing/walking/mountaineering community.
To find out more information on the work of the Access and Conservation Team and the volunteers who work with them follow the link to Access and Conservation articles on our site.
You can find more information on your local area here.
This year we are celebrating Volunteers' Week (1-7 June) by highlighting the incredible and dedicated work of our volunteers through a series of volunteer stories. Each day we will be publishing a short written interview with a volunteer so you can get to know a little more about the essential role they play in the work of the BMC.
Day One: Stephen Quinton
Day Two: Mike Spooner
Day Three: Graeme Hill
Day Four: Andrew Higson, Mental Health and the Outdoors
Day Five: Updated volunteer info pages and NEW Volunteering Handbook
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