BMC to be Re-named 'Climb Britain'

Today the British Mountaineering Council has announced a change of name to 'Climb Britain', while its Scottish equivalent the Mountaineering Council of Scotland will become 'Mountaineering Scotland'. 

Climb Britain logo, 103 kb

What's in a name? Quite a lot, apparently, in terms both of positioning the organisations, and appealing to potential members. The BMC's re-brand as Climb Britain is intended to better reflect the wide remit of the organisation, which has historically been viewed as being more for climbers than hillwalkers.

'Hill walking, climbing and mountaineering have evolved since the BMC was first established in 1944, and the name ‘Mountaineering Council’ doesn’t quite cut it these days' says Dave Turnbull, CEO of the BMC (or do we mean Climb Britain?).

'We asked for help from Sport England to solve our dilemma. Could we keep our existing name, yet still reach out to the new generations discovering climbing and hill walking? Was there a new name that could clearly convey all our core beliefs? After a nine-month independent study, sports marketing specialists b-focused and design agency Thinkfarm found the answer.'

'“BMC members all climb stuff,” they reported back. “Climb is the one word that binds all BMC members together, whether it’s hills, mountains, rocks, ice or indoor walls.”'

'Under Climb Britain, our core values will remain unchanged' says Dave Turnbull.

'[W]e will continue to promote the interests and protect the freedoms of climbers and walkers and do everything we can to look after the cliff and mountain environment. And, whilst Climb Britain is our new public identity, our formal legal name remains British Mountaineering Council.'

'Over the next few months, we will be working very closely with our affiliated clubs, associate members, Mountain Training, Mountaineering Scotland, Climb Cymru, the climbing walls and the GB Climbing Team to explain what the change means and investigate the many new opportunities that arise.'

The new name will be phased in over the next year, with a formal launch at the Kendal Mountain Festival in November. Meanwhile BMC Wales will become Climb Cymru.

North of the border too, the emphasis is on both change and continuity.

Commenting on their own re-branding to Mountaineering Scotland, MCofS Chief Executive Officer, David Gibson said:

'The MCofS has represented the interests of its clubs and members since 1970. We are proud of our heritage and achievements, but we recognise that times are changing and tailoring our brand and communications to new audiences is essential.'

When the MCofs was established it was a body representing 16 mountaineering clubs. Since then it has grown considerably, to over 13,000 members and 140 affiliated clubs, and the 'Council' bit of its name no longer seems so relevant.

'Our reach and ambitions have understandably grown in the last half century' continued David Gibson.

'We value our current members greatly, but recognise that they represent a modest proportion of the many thousands who enjoy Scotland’s fantastic mountains, and who can benefit from our work safeguarding access, promoting mountain skills and safety, developing our sport and protecting the mountain landscape.' 

'In September 2015 we launched ClimbScotland, an innovative brand which is succeeding by inspiring more young people to climb, enjoy the sport, and learn how to develop their skills. We’ve learned from our experience with ClimbScotland that a simple and progressive brand can enable us to communicate our key message that mountaineering activities – hillwalking and climbing – and our membership offer are accessible to all.' 

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