The best way to find out what happens at BMC area meetings is to go along to one. They are open to all, and you’re encouraged, and very welcome, to attend.
Area meetings are the base from which the BMC grows. It’s where local action starts and ideas get kicked about - in a friendly way, of course. One of their purposes is to inform local climbers and walkers about regional and national issues. They also act as a forum for local opinions on matters such as crag access, conservation issues, and national debates such as wind farms, land use and road building schemes. Increasingly, they are the focal point for getting local events such as crag clean-ups and climbing and walking festivals organised and funded.
The BMC is divided into ten areas, eight in England and two in Wales. These are: Lake District; London & South East; Midlands; North East; North West; Peak District; South West; Yorkshire; Cymru North Wales; and Cymru South Wales; a Cymru Mid Wales outreach group also holds meetings. Each BMC Area usually meets four or five times a year.
What happens at an area meeting?
The usual format of a meeting is to first run through the progress made since the last time everyone got together; then comes feedback from the area's representatives on the BMC National Council, which provides an intermediary forum between the members and the Board of Directors. After that, the locally relevant discussions start, including updates from other area representatives on access, clubs, hill walking, youth etc. Discussion topics are as varied as:
Lake District winter climbing ethics
A major project to regenerate climbing in the Avon Gorge
Fixed equipment on sea cliffs
The organisation of local crag clean-ups and climbing & walking festivals
Responses to local access issues and planning applications
Quarry restoration in the Midlands
Management of the Peak District’s North Lees estate
BMC position statements on dry tooling and fixed equipment
If anything needs to be taken to the BMC National Council that is done via the relevant area representatives, of which there are two for each BMC Area. Anything that needs local action and organisation is usually sorted out there and then.
The food arrives and the entertainment begins. There are usually refreshments in the form of chips and butties. A guest speaker is often in attendance with slides of their latest derring-do adventure. Entertainment in the past has been provided by the likes of Nick Bullock, Maddy Cope, Jesse Dufton, Rhoslyn Frugtniet, Gary Gibson, Alan Hinkes, Annoushe Hussain, Dr Suzie Imber, Tom Livingstone, Shirin Shabestari and Emma Twyford.
When's my next meeting?
Find all the information about your next area meeting (and lots more) in the BMC Local Areas site
How to stay in touch with your local BMC area
BMC National Council
Find out more out BMC National Council here
Find out more about the structure of the BMC here
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Benefits of BMC membership
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