Cotswold Outdoor is a recommended retailer of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC). As the UK’s largest retailer of climbing kit, Cotswold Outdoor provides BMC members with the best gear to pursue their passion.

As well as offering members a 15% discount in-store, Cotswold Outdoor also supports the council’s access and conservation work.

Representing the Interests of Climbers

The British Mountaineering Council represents the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers.

It is chiefly concerned with England and Wales but co-operates closely with related organisations, including the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, mountaineering training bodies and international organisations, including the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation.

BMC currently has around 76,000 members. More than 50,000 of these are individuals, the rest are members of around 300 climbing clubs affiliated to the BMC.

As well as supporting the work of the BMC, members get a range of benefits, including discounts at outdoor shops (such as Cotswold Outdoor).

The BMC’s Work

The work the BMC does is unusually diverse among recreational bodies, but its members consistently explain that its most important role is maintaining access to hills, mountains and cliffs – and their conservation. The BMC do this through its Access Management Group.

Climbers and hill walkers value the natural world and the BMC promotes a wider concern for the environmental and economic interests of the rural communities its members visit. Its charity – the Access & Conservation Trust – funds footpath restoration and conservation events and information.

The BMC promotes safety by helping all climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers develop their skills. It runs lecture programmes, publishes books and offers DVDs and web films promoting best practice.

The BMC is also an active participant in overseeing the work of the UK’s various training boards. Through its technical committee, the BMC offers knowledge and advice on safety equipment, and contributes to international standards work.

The committee also directs the Equipment Investigation Panel, which oversees the analysis and reporting of equipment failures.

No Formal Rules!

The BMC is not a governing body in the way other sporting bodies are. You don’t need to be a member to do these activities, there are no formal rules and no one is required to be certified, unless they are formally instructing young people. Hill walkers and climbers prize the freedom of the hills and would actively resist such things.

There is one exception – competition climbing. The BMC organises lead climbing and bouldering competitions in the UK, hosts World and European Cup events in the UK and supports entry of British team members in competitions overseas. The BMC also organises youth and paraclimbing events.


The BMC relies on a network of hundreds of volunteers who take on responsibilities as diverse as negotiating access agreements to chaperoning junior competition climbers. The organisation is split into nine regions, each of which hold regular area meetings.

The BMC George Band Award for Exceptional Voluntary Contribution to Mountaineering is an annual award recognising the great work of BMC volunteers.

Mend Our Mountains Campaign

Cotswold Outdoor has recently extended its support to the BMC even further to sponsor its Mend our Mountains: Make One Million campaign.

The first Mend Our Mountains campaign raised over £100,000 to help repair some of the UK’s most well used pathways. This time the BMC is setting its sights even higher, aiming to Make One Million.

The funds raised will support a variety of regeneration projects across the UK’s 15 national parks.

To find out more about this cause ask in-store at Cotswold Outdoor, or visit:

Explore Blogs