BMC president Rehan Siddiqui, right, and chief executive Dave Turnbull. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

BMC president Rehan Siddiqui, right, and chief executive Dave Turnbull. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The British Mountaineering Council has performed a u-turn on its decision earlier this year to rebrand itself Climb Britain.

Following strong criticism of the move from many of its members, the Manchester-based organisation began a consultation process.

Its president and chief executive announced on Friday it would be abandoning plans to change its name.

It will now continue as the British Mountaineering Council. Critics of the planned name change said it did not reflect that fact that many members are not climbers, but rather were hillwalkers or took part in other mountain activities.

They said the proposed name appeared to exclude non-climbers in the organisation.

President Rehan Siddiqui and chief executive Dave Turnbull said: “During the first three weeks of September the BMC held 12 consultation meetings across England and Wales to explain the thinking behind Climb Britain and listen to members’ views and concerns.

“Each meeting was attended by at least one senior BMC official or staff member – president, director, CEO or deputy CEO – and our national council met on 17 September to review the feedback. Written comments from individuals and clubs were also taken into account in this process.

“A strong consensus emerged in the meetings and as a result we can now confirm that national council has formally decided that the BMC will not be rebranding as Climb Britain.

“During the consultation process there was also general support for the idea of Climb Britain being put to some other use within the BMC, eg as a promotional campaign or marketing initiative. Over the next two months we will be assessing the options before reporting back to national council in December.

“We have learnt some very important lessons from this experience – not least that members feel a strong sense of ownership in the BMC and want to be actively involved with major organisational decisions.

The BMC headquarters in Disbury, Manchester. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The BMC headquarters in Disbury, Manchester. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

“The BMC is an unusually diverse organisation with a rich heritage and a dedicated workforce of staff and volunteers. We remain strong and healthy and will continue to do our utmost to represent the wide range of activities within our overall ‘mountaineering’ remit – be it hillwalking, bouldering, competition climbing, ski mountaineering, indoor climbing, traditional or sport climbing and all aspects of winter mountaineering and ice climbing.”

In July, Mr Turnbull revealed the council had received about £25,000 from Sport England, the Government-backed agency, for a look at how the BMC was perceived and how it might improve its image, particularly among young people.

He admitted the suggested change in branding initially surprised him. “At the outset my expectation was that we’d probably end up with a recommendation to adopt a new BMC logo and some detailed brand guidelines about how to position ourselves.

“There was no specific brief to come up with new name for the BMC. It just evolved that way because the consultants came up with idea we felt had traction. For years we’ve pondered about the suitability of ‘mountaineering council’ in our name, but we’ve never been able to come up with an acceptable alternative.

“BMC as an acronym is OK if you know the BMC, but for new people it’s not obvious who we are or what we do.”

A simultaneous change in name for the sister organisation the Mountaineering Council of Scotland provoked little controversy. It consulted its members before the change to Mountaineering Scotland.

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