Blog - I'll Be Renewing My Membership
5th Apr 2017
Some time in May I'll be renewing my membership to the BMC. And here's why.
The BMC are having a rocky time of it. BMC, if you aren't aware, is not just a cycling team in the Tour De France, but a very important organisation called the British Mountaineering Council. They’ve been around for donkeys years, and if you've ever climbed in the UK, either indoors or out, or been for a walk in the hills or mountains, then you will almost certainly have benefited from their work. They do some awesome stuff, more of which I'll go into below, but they are currently mired in a bit of a mess. Last year they embarked on a re-brand in an attempt to recognise the changing demographic of their membership and literally to move with the times. However, they underestimated the enthusiasm of their existing member for their old-fashioned name. Some of the membership reacted loudly against the changes, so the BMC ate a Desperate Dan sized piece of humble pie and climbed down from the idea. Fortunately it seems that little of the organisations money had been wasted in this exercise thanks to a grant that had funded it in the first place. So with pride dented the executive committee moved on, learning from the mistakes, and continuing to work for the betterment of climbing and hillwalking.
Sadly a small, but powerful and vociferous, group of individuals are not happy with the state of affairs and have called a vote of no confidence in the BMC, asking that the executive committee step down. I've done a fair bit of reading around the reasons for this vote, and also of what is proposed to be done if they were to step down. Have a read of this forum thread if you would like to know more.
My own opinion is that the above group are wasting a lot of people's time (and money), and that the exec should be left to lick their own wounds and get on with the good work that the BMC do. You can form your own opinion, but I would urge that you do just that. It may seem a long way removed from the likes of Brexit and the US Elections, but those two examples illustrate very clearly that it's more important than ever to actually do something about the things you feel strongly about.
If you'd like to go ahead and do something then check this page out.
If you are already a member, then at the very least, you can print out a proxy voting card, fill it our, photograph it with your phone and email it to the BMC. I just did, and it took me about 2 minutes, all in.
You may not be a member of the BMC. If you are reading this piece, then I would argue that you should be! The organisation is facing 40% cuts from Sport England and membership fees are more important than ever. You might be a young climber without much of a care for who protects the cliffs and paths that you use - but in the future you may well rue your decision not to support then now. You may have retired, and rarely venture into the hills any more - but there's a good chance that you have spent plenty of time there in the past, and that your kids and grand kids need the protection that the BMC provides. Above all, it's not even expensive!
Individual membership costs £15.72 and family membership costs £26.77! Details are here. Membership not only funds the good stuff that the BMC do, but you get a pretty awesome Summit Magazine. The full membership benefits are listed on the above page.
Some good stuff that the BMC do:
• They protect the cliffs we climb on and the paths we walk, negotiating with landowners and stake holders to maintain access.
• They provide one of, if not, the best insurance policies in the world for active people.
• They produce a very good member's magazine.
• They have their own online TV channel and have a track record of supporting budding filmmakers.
• They actively support important events like Kendal Mountain Festival, the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival Keswick Mountain Festival and Cliffhanger. These events form the social hub of much of the outdoor industry in the UK and are important on many levels.
• They support and develop competition climbing, to the extent that we have a current world champion - nicely timed as climbing debuts at the Tokyo Olympics in 3 years time.
If you are not a member of the BMC then I urge you to join now. If you are a member, and have not voted by proxy, then I also urge you to do just that. The deadline is April 20th.
If you live local to Sheffield or the Peak District then tonight you could read to the Maynard Hotel in Grindleford for the Peak Area Meeting where the forthcoming AGM and vote of no confidence will be discussed. Starts at 19.30