What does Climb Britain mean for walkers?

Posted by Carey Davies on 25/07/2016

Britain’s mountains have probably never been climbed by so many people. And the vast majority of those people are walkers. Here’s why the BMC’s new name applies to them too.

Climbers are not the only people who climb mountains.

In fact, most of the people who climb into the high places of Britain and beyond do so using just their two feet. Their most technical equipment is probably the GPS in their phone and they hardly lay a hand on rock while scaling sublime peaks like Snowdon, Scafell Pike or Suilven.   

In other words, walkers.

Majority

If you talk about the type of people who ‘climb mountains’, a lot of people might imagine someone with bulging arms, bristling with slings, carabiners and other pieces of shiny metal.

In fact, people like that are a minority when it comes to outdoor adventure. A recent survey of the activities people do in national parks found that walking was by far the most popular activity, at 59%, compared to 5% for climbing.

In 2013, the number of people walking up Snowdon in one year peaked at an incredible 450,000.

And every year mountain walking challenges grow in popularity, with ever greater numbers attempting the Yorkshire or National Three Peaks, or embarking on the task of bagging all the Munros or Wainwrights.

Britain’s mountains have probably never been climbed by so many people. And most of those people are walkers.

Life-affirming

And of course, walking in the hills and mountains is no less inspirational, adventurous, or life-affirming than climbing.

Anyone who has tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, climbed the likes of Snowdon or Scafell Pike, watched a sunset from a summit or just pushed themselves to get up their local hill knows the inspirational afterglow that walking gives you.

Anyone who has gone backpacking in Scotland, scrambled on Tryfan, trekked in the Himalayas, or tramped in New Zealand knows how adventurous ‘walking’ can be.

Anyone who has caught a cloud inversion, seen their own shadow haloed in the sky by a Brocken spectre, looked at the stars in a sky uncrowded by light pollution, woken up to sunrise from a mountain wild camp, or experienced a sunset over the Alps from a high-altitude rifugio, knows that walking in wild and high places is a portal to experiencing the universe at its most spectacular.

Climb Britain

Today the BMC announced it will be changing its name to ‘Climb Britain’. Many walkers may hear this new name and wonder if it applies to them.

The answer is that of course it does. ‘Climb’ is not the same as ‘climbing’.

The BMC is a broad cathedral of people. The majority of our members say hill walking is their main activity, but there are also climbers, boulderers, indoor climbers and mountaineers, and many people who are a mix of all the above.

What we have in common is that we all climb stuff. We represent a continuum of activities which vary in style but all share challenge and adventure as essential characteristics. Walking is a hugely important part of this mix.

And the new name will not affect the vital work we do to protect the rights of ordinary people to access the countryside and look after the mountain landscape, which many walkers value and benefit from.

This year we raised an unprecedented £104,000 for footpath repair works on iconic mountains like Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Ingleborough through the Mend Our Mountains campaign. We have even bigger and better ambitions for our campaigning work under our new name – watch this space.

Call to action

Above all, the name ‘Climb Britain’ is a call to action which we hope will reach many people and persuade them of the power of getting outdoors.

As adventurer, TV presenter and BMC hill walking ambassador Mary-Ann Ochota puts it: "Britain is a small island, but it offers a lifetime of adventure. It doesn’t need to be the North Face of the Eiger, or a Bouldering World Championship you set your sights on.

“It could be the hills of the Peak District, or the Brecon Beacons, or the climbing wall at your local leisure centre. It could be a half-day stroll with the kids and a picnic. Whatever you do, Climb Britain will be with you every step of the way."

Climb Snowdon. Climb Scafell Pike. Climb Ben Nevis. Climb the countless possibilities of the Peak District, the Lake District, the Brecon Beacons, the Yorkshire Dales or the vast Scottish Highlands. 

Climb the Munros. Climb the Wainwrights. Cut your teeth on mountains at home, then go on to climb Kilimanjaro or Mont Blanc, or explore the Alps and Himalayas. Climb that hill near your house. Climb whatever you want, and climb it your own way.

Whatever you do, we will have your back when you need us, whether that’s providing insurance for when things go wrong, fighting your corner politically, or looking after the landscapes you love.

Walk Britain. Explore Britain. Love what Britain has to offer.

Get out there and Climb Britain.


Read more about Climb Britain

BMC to change its name to Climb Britain
After more than 70 years as the British Mountaineering Council, we’ve decided to move with the times and unite all our members under one 'Climb' banner.

Climb Britain: the facts
We take a look at the facts behind the change to Climb Britain.

What does Climb Britain mean for walkers?
Changing to Climb Britain won't affect our work for walkers – find out more.

Climb Britain: a personal message from BMC CEO Dave Turnbull
Dave Turnbull gives a behind-the-scenes look at the process.

Climb Britain: Update from the BMC
It's been a rocky ride this last few days, and it's probably fair to say we didn’t quite anticipate the level of interest there would be in our Climb Britain announcement.


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16
25/07/2016
That is understandable but couldn't you also say that mountaineering encompasses both walking and climbing (whatever form that may be)? I would think that the term climbing sounds more niche to the general public than mountaineering is...
Anonymous User
25/07/2016
The fact you've written a whole article trying to tell hill walkers climb applies to them means you know full well it doesn't. Mountaineering has long been understood to encompass a range of activities in the hills and mountains. Climb does not encompass hill walkers, even if they do say climb a hill when they walk up it. You try to justify it, but we all know it's not normal perception of the names.
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
More action needed on your behalf in opposing windfarrm developments in our upland areas.
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
Climb Britain sounds like a sponsored climbing event not an organisation with deep roots in aspects of British mountains and beyond. Don't recall the membership being asked an opinion on changing names. Mountaineering to me covers walking, climbing, ski touring etc in any season, in any set of moorland, hills, mountain and coastline. Climbing has a much narrower focus on rock, snow/ice. Poor choice if name. Dave
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
Very sad to see a great organisation change its name like this. I'm a mountain walker, you might technically say I climb Snowdon but I actually walk up it, I love the steep bits on the mountains but when confronted with a rock face I find a way round it, I do admire the climbers on the steep rock faces but its not for me. Climb Britain sounds just like a commercial holiday adventure company concerned only with Britain. When I produced my BMC card in an Alpine Refuge I felt part of a great organisation, I doubt that a Climb Britain card will have the effect. The British Mountaineering Council conjures up thought of Britons mountaineering not just in Britain but in far flung places such as South America, Alaska and other distant places. I doubt a Climb Britain card will ever become as popular.
David Preston
Macclesfield
Anonymous User
26/07/2016
All for good logo, sorry looks like I'll be switching to to MCoS
Anonymous User
27/07/2016
"Climb Britain" is touted as "modernisation". It's more like dumbing down.. It's also not a name but an imperative! Thinkfarm took the BMC for fools . The BMC wanted a new name but hadn't the confidence or initiative to produce one for itself. T claim that the change of name to "Climb" opens up "exciting opportunities" is so much public relations gush. The mountains and the need to protect them will remain exactly the same as before. Lastly , who took this decision? Were the members consulted? Did they get an chance to express a view?
27/07/2016
I can see the attraction, in a limited sort of way,
But you've really dropped the proverbial,
Keeping it under wraps,
Then dropping it as a the fait accomplit.

Anonymous User
27/07/2016
Will there be a Climb Down group for cavers?
Anonymous User
28/07/2016
Climbing down is always harder.
Anonymous User
29/07/2016
My first reaction to seeing the new logo is "rock climbing " not walking. I'm afraid "climb Britain" is not the right way to cover walking/hiking. A brand shouldn't need an explanation- it should be clear from the outset.

A better name would be along the lines of "Mountaineering Britain"
29/07/2016
If I asked you "Do you climb?" down the pub, I think it's fair to suggest we'd both conjure up ideas of some 'face' requiring hands to ascend, probably with verticality, probably with ropes, probably outside but quite possibly also inside. I climbed and bouldered for many years at university solely at indoor walls.

To preempt "Well, what about asking 'Do you mountaineer'": To be fair I get that 'mountaineer' isn't necessarily the best verb people would choose to associate with their chosen outdoor activity or indoor ascension sport (some even veritably hate it), but then 'British Mountaineering [Council]' isn't called 'Mountaineer Britain' using the infinitive form of the verb either.
I'm disillusioned with this whole affair. Not least that the BMC have now gone all defensive about it, and simply didn't appropriately consult their membership.

Yours in disenfranchisement,
Tom
01/08/2016
I discussed this with several members of our mountaineering club at the weekend meet. The club comprises both climbers and hillwalkers. The unanimous response from the hillwalkers was that they don't identify with "Climb", which they associate with roped climbing. They do identify with "Mountaineering".
Anonymous User
03/08/2016
To be fair 'Climb Britain' can be read to include scramblers and walkers. My key objection is it maybe a good theme for an advertising campaign but is not a name for an organization with so much heritage. The new logo graphic looks 90's retro which devalues the organizations credentials too.
Anonymous User
01/09/2016
I like the new logo which is much more striking than the old one. Also as a hill walker and a novice climber I would never claim to be a mountaineer. At least Climb Britain sounds more inclusive

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