In early March the BMC will launch Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million. Reprising a fundraising drive that proved a success in 2016, the campaign aims to raise money for path repair work on heavily used routes in each of Britain's National Parks.
The original Mend Our Mountains bagged more than £100,000 through crowd funding, but this time around the target has been increased tenfold to an ambitious £1million.
Run in conjunction with a UK-wide coalition of National Parks and other organisations, and with headline sponsorship provided by Cotswold Outdoor and Snow + Rock, it is, say the BMC "a call to action for everyone who values the hills, mountains and landscapes of Britain".
So why do our mountains need mending? We asked project co-ordinator Inigo Atkin:
"It's tempting to over-simplify this, but the reality is that a cocktail of problems have led to severely worsening conditions in some of our most popular upland areas" he said.
"The most significant is increased visitor numbers. Sport England estimate the number of adults who regularly go hill-walking is similar to those playing football. This has meant that popular routes in places like the Peak District, the Lakes and Snowdonia have been battered by increased footfall over recent years."
"This has been compounded by a few things – serious storm damage in consecutive winters has increased workloads (footpath repair teams in the Lake District estimated that during Storm Desmond in 2015, storms caused a year's worth of damage in one night), and many of the park authorities have faced serious funding cuts at the same time which means the resources to combat this damage are limited."
"Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million is a call to action to everyone who cares about the hills. The need is significant but we believe that stepping up to that challenge is hugely important for the future of our mountains and hills."
MoM was a big success as a fundraiser in 2016 but what's the thinking behind upping this year's target tenfold, and is it realistically achievable? Here's what Inigo had to say on that:
"It's a big change, and certainly makes the campaign a very different beast" he told us.
"The justification came from the number of worthy path projects across the country that needed support – we felt that to make a wholesale difference in these areas, the current campaign had to expand both its scale and its reach. That's why every UK National Park will benefit in some way from the Make One Million campaign, with big projects receiving up to £145,000 for complete renovation of kilometres worth of path, and smaller projects receiving sums around £20,000 for specialist repairs in a small area, such as a new bridge."
"In terms of its achievability, the appeal draws on a range of funding sources that were deliberately excluded from the first campaign. Crowdfunding is an amazing tool for engaging people, and it will have a place in this campaign (starting Autumn 2018), but we are dramatically broadening the scope of our fundraising activities this time around. In practice, this means that charitable trusts, corporate sponsors and high-value donations from individuals will all be key to securing the funds needed. Much of this work is already underway – Cotswold Outdoor and Snow+Rock are the campaign's Headline Sponsor, and significant sums have already been raised through other large donations."
- Mend our Mountains: Make One Million launches at the BMC Sheffield Adventure Film Festival on 9-11 March. A fun, sociable Friday night party and film session will be followed by a Peak District walk on the Saturday. For details see here
Friday 9 March
18:00 Launch party
Showroom café bar, Showroom Cinema, Sheffield
Join us in the Showroom café bar for evening drinks and nibbles from 18:00, hosted by the Mend our Mountains team and BMC walking ambassador Mary-Ann Ochota. Find out more about the project and meet mountain celebs such as Alan Hinkes.
Sign up for the launch party: On Eventbrite (it's free)
19:00 Mountain film session
Screen 2, Showroom Cinema, Sheffield
After drinks, the action moves to the main screen in the Showroom Cinema, where Niall Grimes and Mary-Ann Ochota will present the first session of the BMC ShAFF weekend: the mountain film session.
This session features five of the best current films capturing the spirit of the mountains: Right to Roam, Life Coach featuring Alex Honnold, 2.5 Million, Testing Ourselves, featuring Kilian Jornet and The Place of the Gaels.
Plus, this session will start with a special showing of Inaccessible, Mary-Ann's new short film about the Inaccessible Pinnacle on Skye, followed by an extended QnA and banter session with Niall Grimes. There will be prizes.
Buy your ticket: for the film session here
Films rated 12A. Tickets are £8.80, but don't forget that all BMC members get 15% off all ShaFF ticket prices – check your email for the offer code.
To use your 15% BMC discount, phone 0114 275 7727 or call into the box office during opening hours.
Sat 10 March
09:30 Mam Tor and Great Ridge walk
Castleton, Peak District
Pull on your walking boots and join us for a walk along Mam Tor and the Great Ridge. Accompanied by BMC ambassador Mary-Ann Ochota and the Mend our Mountains team, this is your chance to discover more about the campaign, whilst enjoying a day out on one of the UK's top 10 walks.
Take a look at why Mend Our Mountains is so badly needed, hear from local experts, and then enjoy a tasty pub lunch in nearby Castleton.