2007 has seen a positive upheaval for BMC Cymru / Wales. A fresh new team of representatives, spearheaded by the dynamic Yorkshire-man Mike Raine (view his Plas y Brenin profile here), have massively increased attendance rates at meetings, sorted loads of crag issues out, been involved in a Tremadog festival, a Gogarth festival, and more recently a Welsh fun day based at Plas y Brenin.
The Welsh fun day (held on 24th November) included free access to the excellent Plas y Brenin climbing wall throughout the day, with evening entertainment being provided in the form of slide-shows from the pre-eminent photographer Ray Wood and local photographer, film-maker and instructor Mark Reeves. I asked Martin Kocsis, BMC Volunteers Officer, how his Fun Day had been: “The cake was, as one has come to expect from PyB, up to scratch. However, a phalanx of tubby Mountain Rescue types meant that the rest of us had to use our specially sharpened elbows to have any chance with the cakes at all. I believe it was moist ginger.”
The BMC were at Plas y Brenin for two weekends in a row; after the Welsh Fun day came the National Council meeting. Again, this was well attended and dealt with many important issues including equality within the organisation. Read the BMC update here
So all this has been going on, which is great and obviously very important, however I thought it was time to find out if 'they actually do anything worthwhile at the crag?'. It turns out they do. This extract from the recent BMC Cymru/Wales annual report highlights a study at Tremadog:
”On Thursday 17th May I visited Pant Ifan with Judy Yates and Mike Lewis to survey the crag with Doug Oliver from CCW (Countryside Council for Wales). We found climbers had a beneficial effect on the habitat of the very rare 'Rock Stonecrop'. By keeping the path clear through the blocky scree to the crag we have helped protect this plants habitat from the encroaching woodland. During the winter of 2007/08 a team of tree surgeons will remove invasive tree species form Bwlch y Moch. The scheme will be 75% funded by the Forestry Commission for Wales under their Better Woods for Wales programme.” Mike Raine
So it's official, the BMC working for us, as it should, discovers that climbers have a positive impact on this crag environment. Excellent work all round, and lets hope it can continue through 2008. Thank you Mike and the team (any of that cake left over?).
BMC Cymru/Wales has embraced the Web2 revolution, keeping everyone up to date with a great blog here.