Do I think of myself as a climber, hill walker, mountain walker or a mountaineer to name but a few variants of the process of going up and down a diverse range of mountainous or hilly terrain?
When I first started this site it was something I wrestled with it in terms of positioning. I enjoy getting out into the hills whenever I can but I have not done any mountaineering per se, for a number of years. To a degree, running a site called The Armchair Mountaineer I felt like a fraud.
I felt a little uncomfortable writing about mountaineering or climbing when to all intents and purposes I do not do it. There is a natural sense of inferiority which has been bred by the seemingly refined atmosphere surrounding mountaineering as opposed to the simple act of mountain walking, for example. It doesn't matter that it may have only been perceived by people and that in truth we are all equal in our enjoyment of the wilderness. It has been there for a long time - I felt it when joining the University of Derby Mountaineering Club 23 years ago, let alone comparing myself to the elite of the world stage.
The British Mountaineering Council last week announced it is changing its name from the BMC to "Climb Britain". This news came with the usual backlash, probably from the most extreme alpinist to the weekend rambler feeling it was inappropriate, abandoned the humble hill walker, broke with some stuffy tradition and so on and so forth; I read a few comments on Twitter and forums.
"Perhaps it will also help to assuage the unease of corporate numpties going through a mid-life crisis..."
I would like to say that I welcome this rebrand. I actually feel it makes the BMC more inclusive. Of course it needs to be accompanied by continued inclusivity in its remit, but as a starting point for making those simple folk who may well walk up a mountain feel more part of the world of mountain climbing it is excellent.
The legions of people who walk, or lets say it; Climb, up Britain's lovely hills and mountains can now feel part of something larger, a wider community that is not defined by one aspect of the enjoyment of hills and mountains, namely mountaineering.
I think it also encourages people to talk in terms of climbing a mountain whereas before, the same people, may have hesitated to use such a verb for fear of the scorn of the hardcore mountaineer. Again, whether real or perceived, this thoroughly British fear of blowing one's own trumpet and the shame of appearing to have pride in one's achievements can perhaps now be consigned (in part) to the annals of history.
Perhaps it will also help to assuage the unease of corporate numpties going through a mid-life crisis and looking to climb something modest in order to try to recapture their youth in which the mountains seem to offer endless possibilities of freedom and adventure and all the... just saying. I mean, that's not me or anything.
So three cheers for the BMC, or should I say Climb Britain? Yes I should.