The British Mountaineering Council’s annual meeting and dinner takes place this year on 21 April.
So we guess there will be no participation by the council’s top brass in the Kinder Scout celebrations which happen the same day, unless there’s going to be some very rapid driving on the roads between Derbyshire and north Wales.
The BMC’s shindig happens over the weekend of 20 to 22 April at Plas-y-Brenin, the national mountain centre near Capel Curig. It seems unfortunate that it clashes with the events arranged to mark the 75th anniversary of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout, which laid the ground for access to hills and crags which culminated in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2000.
The BMC weekend will incorporate its annual meeting for members but there will also be navigation classes, a rockclimbing self-rescue course and children’s activities.
The council has released its annual report to coincide with the meeting. Its accounts show an operating surplus after tax of £140,000, down £55,000 on the previous year. 57 per cent of its £1.89m income comes from its membership subscriptions, but the grant it receives from sports councils was down from £201,000 to £184,000.
The BMC has 63,000 members representing not just climbing, but hillwalking and other activities in the high ground of Britain. Thorny issues in the past have included the voting system, whereby clubs were perceived to carry more clout than individual members.
The BMC is moving towards a one-member, one-vote system. It is also recommending an increase of £1 in subscriptions for 2008 to cover expected increased costs. Membership declined by 1,309 in 2006.
The report also picks out the fact that mountain accidents have started to rise again, after a period of decline. Most of these are incidents involving walkers rather than climbers. Many happen in scrambling environments, the grey area where walking meets climbing.
There has been a number of incidents of climbers becoming cragfast – unable to reverse routes to safety when in difficulty – and also of all protection coming out when a fall has happened. The BMC says this is the probable outcome of climbers moving from indoor walls to outdoor crags without serving an effective ‘apprenticeship’ in leader belaying.
Full details of the annual report are on the BMC website.