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  1. The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) Courses And Data Sheets

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    The BMC organises a range of good practice courses, lectures and seminars, including:

    With partners, the BMC produces a range of safety and skills information, including:

    The BMC website also contains safety & skills advice, including:

  2. BMC Crag Code Of Conduct

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    The BMC has produced a code of conduct – the Crag Code – to encourage the sustainable use of crags in England and Wales. The code consists of ten important reminders for people visiting our crags – from respecting the rock and other people to keeping to established footpaths and keeping dogs under control. Whilst the majority of climbers and boulderers have a positive attitude towards crag access and protection, the BMC felt a code was needed to help prevent situations whereby access may come under threat.

    • Access: Check the Regional Access Database (RAD) for the latest access information
    • Parking: Park carefully – avoid gateways and driveways
    • Footpaths: Keep to established paths and leave gates as you find them
    • Risk: Climbing can be dangerous, accept the risks and be aware of other people around you
    • Respect: Groups and individuals  – respect the rocks, local climbing ethics and other people
    • Wildlife: Do not disturb livestock, wildlife or cliff vegetation; respect seasonal bird nesting restrictions
    • Dogs: Keep dogs under control at all times; don’t let your dog chase sheep or disturb wildlife
    • Litter: ‘Leave no trace’ – take all litter home with you
    • Toilets: Don’t make a mess – bury your waste
    • Economy: Do everything you can to support the rural economy – shop locally

     

  3. Suggested Kit For Hill Walkers By The BMC

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    The BMC has a suggested kit list for hill walkers:

    Map and compass

    Torch, plus spare battery and bulb

    Watch

    Walking boots and socks

    Shorts / trousers

    Wicking baselayer

    Insulating midlayer

    Fleece jacket

    Waterproof jacket

    Waterproof overtrousers

    Hat and scarf

    Gloves / mittens

    Gaiters

    Rucksack

    Drink

    Food

    Emergency food

    Sunhat / sunglasses / sunscreen

    Insect repellent (seasonal)

    Spare gloves

    Spare socks

    Whistle

    Mobile phone

    First aid kit

    Bivi bag

    Group shelter

    Trekking poles (optional)

     

    Photo: BMC

  4. Winter Safety Advice: Prepare To Enjoy The Hills And Mountains

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    With Scotland’s hills and mountains at their most beautiful and most challenging, mountaineering bodies have issued a joint safety reminder, emphasising the need for preparation before heading out into the mountains. Whether you’re out walking or attempting a technical climb, the presence of snow and ice adds an extra dimension to the risks and rewards of a day spent in our wildest environments. The primary consideration of every expedition, whatever the season, should always be a safe return. But conditions in winter make particular demands: shorter days, low temperatures and conditions underfoot which can quickly alter. The benefits of recreation in the hills are numerous and widely recognised. Hill walkers and mountaineers find their lives are enriched by their experiences. These are best realised through planning and preparation, recognising all the challenges the journey may present.

    Preparation is an essential component of every day on the hill, and especially in winter. Preparation not only includes carrying the correct equipment – and knowing how to use it – but getting the latest weather forecast and checking the status of hazards like avalanche risk. It’s essential also to assess whether the chosen activity is within the ability of all the party as well as the time available. For many climbers and hill walkers, preparation is not just necessary but enjoyable. Preparing correctly displays the signs of thoughtful competence towards safe movement in the hills that is the mark of a good mountaineer. Effective navigation, knowing when your limits have been reached and whether to turn back, are also extremely important; turning back must not be considered a failure.

     

    The BMC, the MCofS and the SMSF continue to offer advice on good practice in the hills, acting as a resource for mountaineers and hill walkers of all standards to make their visit to the mountains as safe as possible.

     

    General advice  and  information

    www.thebmc.co.uk

    www.mcofs.org.uk/mountain-safety.asp

    Weather

    www.mwis.org.uk

    Avalanches

    www.sais.gov.uk

  5. BMC – Working For Hill Walkers

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    The membership of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC; www.thebmc.co.uk) is made up of approximately 75,000 climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers. The majority of the members participate in hill walking and about 20% of them are purely hill walkers who don’t go climbing. The name may not make it obvious that the BMC works hard for hill walkers.

    Its work for hill walkers includes:

    • Campaigning for access and conservation

    • Publishing good practice advice and organising training events

    • Lobbying government on issues and legislation

    • Working with partners locally and nationally, such as the Mountain Safety Forum, National Parks, land managers, conservation organisations and other representative bodies.

    • Funding projects to protect the mountain environment

    • Providing specialist insurance cover

    • Negotiating member discounts with outdoor shops and service providers

    The British hills offer beauty, challenge and adventure, as well as the opportunity to keep fit and healthy. So it’s no wonder that hill walking is such a popular activity, attracting people of all ages. Walking in the uplands requires a collection of skills, including navigation and hazard avoidance. It is important that participants are prepared with some basic equipment and knowledge in order to enjoy hill walking safely.

     

     

     

  6. Help And Advice For Starting Hill Walking

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    For those who are relatively or completely new to the activity of hill walking, ‘New Hill Walkers’ by the BMC highlights some essential skills you should learn and develop on your trips into the hills and mountains, and provides a reference base of resources for learning the required skills. The free, 28-page booklet contains chapters on clothing and equipment, navigation, hazards, walking in winter, access and the environment, and emergency procedures.

    Download the booklet for FREE

    There’s good advice on choosing footwear and a rucksack as well as practical info on dressing to cope with the demands of weather and seasons in the hills. Insulating layers are the key to all day comfort – as the guide says:

    The range of temperatures experienced in one day will often be greater in the hills than in cities. Clothing to deal with such variation is therefore required. With the weight of your rucksack contents an important consideration, choosing items that fulfil a range of functions is a good idea. Waterproofs double up as windproofs for example.”

    It makes the point that, “It is better to wear several relatively thin layers than a single thick one, because the layers trap air which is a good insulator, and you can regulate your temperature more effectively by adding or removing layers. Materials which do not absorb moisture are better because wet clothes will make you feel cold.” Plus, “The baselayer should wick moisture away from your body, and so keep your skin dry and prevent excessive chilling every time you stop. As well as providing insulation, a thin midlayer also allows moisture to wick.”


  7. Courses On Winter Hill Walking

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    If you’re planning on hillwalking, then ‘Hope for the best; plan for the worst’ is a sound attitude. Just carrying an ice axe and crampons when you’re venturing over the tops in winter conditions is not enough. You have to know how to use them competently and to be able to read the terrain and weather safely.

    A course at one of Britain’s top outdoor centres will give you an excellent start:

    Plas y Brenin – the National Mountain Centre – www.pyb.co.uk

    Glenmore Lodge – the Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre – www.glenmorelodge.org.uk

    Useful info, advice and occasional courses and talks can be found at the British Mountaineering Council (BMC); it’s not just for climbers but a useful resource for walkers as well – www.thebmc.co.uk

     

  8. What is ‘Minimal Impact’?

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    In a nutshell, minimal impact is about striving consistently to reduce the damage we cause to the natural environment in our outdoor pursuits. As well as following good practice in our recreational activities, it’s also about behaving responsibly with consideration to others, respecting seasonal and occasional restrictions to areas in the longer-term interests of the landscape, flora, fauna and birdlife.

    It is, of course, also the weight of numbers that can affect an area. In loving it we set the seeds for destroying what we cherish. The popular motto ‘Leave nothing but footprints’ is perhaps better revised these days to ‘Leave nothing but shadows’. As far as litter goes, then there is no acceptable alternative to ‘Pack it in, pack it out’. ‘Good practice’ meaning going beyond the theory of caring to the practical implementation of strategies to protect and conserve the land.

    With care and consideration the outdoor environment can soak up a great deal of use by varied groups of enthusiasts. When areas suffer from over-use, thoughtlessness and lack of consideration, it allows arguments to be made to limit access and control numbers by regulation as well as, of course, causing damage to ecosystems. Good practice allows the land an opportunity to recover even from the weight of numbers.

    Whatever your focus on the outdoors, play your part in conserving, defending and enjoying the landscapes we love.

    To access the Countryside Code –http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/enjoying/countrysidecode/default.aspx

    For the situation in Scotland, check out the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com.

    Access and conservation go hand in hand and are key elements of the work of the BMC (http://www.thebmc.co.uk) in England &Wales and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. (http://www.mountaineering-scotland.org.uk).

  9. British Mountaineering Council Relaunch Charity

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    BMC Access & Conservation Trust Enters New Era

    The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) has restructured, revitalised and relaunched its charity – the BMC Access and Conservation Trust (ACT) – which funds projects to protect our cliffs and mountains. The BMC is now raising the profile of the charity in order to help identify new projects to fund and to generally boost support. ACT has helped fund worthwhile projects in the mountains for over ten years yet it is not widely recognised as the BMC’s charity. It is hoped ACT’s new identity (including a new logo and publicity material) plus a new online donation facility will make it easier for people to support its valuable work for years to come.

    BMC CEO Dave Turnbull said, “ACT funds some fantastic projects to protect our mountains that we as climbers and walkers all benefit from. Projects range from footpath improvement and erosion control in the UK to litter picks on Everest. There is still a clear need for the financial support offered by ACT so we are committed to raising its profile and increasing the number of initiatives we support each year.”

    ACT supports the BMC’s work by funding a wide range of practical projects including:

    • Practical crag and footpath restoration
    • Mountain recreation and conservation research
    • Sustainable transport initiatives
    • Campaigns for your countryside rights
    • Crag and mountain information and guidance

    These projects complement and add to the BMC’s own access & conservation work. New for 2011, ACT is also funding a BMC research grant initiative for postgraduate students working on projects that benefit climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers.

    The BMC is encouraging people to support ACT in a variety of ways:

    • Give a donation or leave a legacy – www.thebmc.co.uk/ACTdonate.
    • Buy a limited edition print – he BMC has commissioned artist and guidebook illustrator Phil Gibson to produce a limited edition print of the BMC-owned cliff Craig Bwlch y Moch, Tremadog. Each of the 100 prints will be individually signed by Tremadog pioneers Joe Brown, Ron Fawcett and Eric Jones. These will soon be available to buy via the BMC online shop- www.thebmc.co.uk/shop – or by calling the BMC on 0161 445 6111.
    • Suggest a project for ACT to support.
    • Join ACT on Facebook.

    There’s also a chance to win one of the unique limited edition prints. For every £5 donated, supporters will be entered into a prize draw (i.e. a £20 donation gets your name in the hat 4 times). The draw will be made at the Kendal Mountain Festival in November 2011.

    Further information about ACT is available at www.thebmc.co.uk/act.

     

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