By: Blonde Two

A week or so ago Blonde One and I went to a meeting. We have plenty of meetings of our own to go to (these are usually in a minibus, behind a rock or at Foxtor Cafe), but for once, we decided to go to somebody else’s meeting to find out how normal people do it.

The BMC are a venerable organisation (go on – without looking, tell me what BMC stands for!) They have been around since the 1940’s. Their history makes very interesting reading, I particularly liked, “… its membership was restricted to those respected gentleman with a good Alpine background.” which refers to a much earlier predecessor.

As we Blondes are neither ‘gentlemen’ nor climbers, it was very nice of the BMC to invite us along to their South West area meeting (to be fair we kind of invited ourselves), particularly as at the moment the BMC powers-that-be are embroiled in a bit of a rebranding  hoo-ha.

I have to confess that the word ‘rebranding’ sends shivers down my spine. This is probably true for many teachers, I won’t go into details here.

The BMC got into trouble with their members because they decided to change their name to Climb (Climb Britain). They did this without asking said members, who understandably got a bit cross. Organisations (even venerable ones) make mistakes; what B1 and I both like about the BMC is that once they realised theirs (the lack of consultation, not the new name) they set about trying to correct it by talking to their membership. Trust me, this doesn’t always happen!

These days the BMC represents climbers, mountaineers, walkers, indoor climbers and those that enjoy bouldering (boulderers?) They seem to be making a good job of doing all of this and feel the the word ‘Climb’ represents everybody. I will confess that I went to the meeting with my ‘rebranding is evil’ hat on and, thanks to some brave and patient explanations, left with a much better understanding of the BMC’s decision-making process and reasoning. I learnt a few things in the process:

Lady climbers are an entertaining and friendly bunch (well the one we met was!)

Gentlemen climbers are blokes.

Some outdoor climbers are a bit derogatory about indoor climbers (who would want to be referred to as ‘plastic’?)

‘Tat’ (bits of rope used for abseiling) is not a good thing. (Or is it? I had to look all of that up!)

Not everybody is pleased about the addition of ‘Sport Climbing’ to the 2020 Olympics list (I have no idea why.)

If you let the BMC’s blokes get to the buffet table first, you won’t get a pancake roll.

All in all, it was an informative and interesting evening. We Blondes will be paying more attention to the BMC in future, we recently did a bit of writing for them. From a publicity point of view, maybe their rebranding issues have done them more good than harm!