Several months back now I sat on the BMC national council and voted on the decision to give the Mountain Heritage Trust some £45000 over the coming three years to prop up this flagging charity. It had already been involved with the failure of the ragead musuem in the Lake district, and need £15000 a year to prop itself up and carry on the much needed cataloguing of the artifacts it had been left or donation to the trust.
At the time it seemed like a good idea, as this was the organisation that was dedicated to the preservation of our cultural heritage. However over the christmas period I was researching some article and was directed to the Mountain Heritage Trust website, which at first I thought was reasonably interesting, as it had some short bio’s on famous climbers, as well as some pictures. It was only as I started searching the site that I found a wonder waste of the £15000 annual donation.
What I did was visit this page and clicked on the all artifacts page. Expecting to see some examples of Lord Hunts underwear or wooden ice axes from some turn of the century expedition, instead I got a shitty pair of Koflachs, a karrimat, a russian titanium ice screw, a sling and a few pairs of 1980’s ski’s.
Is there a case for the MHT to reassess its priorities? As when you look at other stuff it has, then seeing a digital copy of some of the old photos, or notes belonging to some lord snooty from back in the day, would be far more interesting then a karrimat, I could buy for a fiver, although Chris Bonnington may not have slept on it, which would make it more valuable, as who’d want soiled goods?
Only days before I had stumbled across the welsh library, which had scanned a very old publication by Thomas Pennent one of the first travellers to document ‘A Tour of Wales’.
Personally I would much rather see the more interesting records be scanned and available for us all to enjoy. Hopefully it is an ongoing project that the MHT will get down to as soon as possible, and not bother photographing and cataloguing some of the utter rubbish and tat that you could get 10p for in a car boot.
I know some things can’t be given a price, but I beg you to justify the ‘artifacts’ or junk if you prefer, that I highlighted. There are other gems in there if you can be bothered to look.
What do you guys think? Mountain Heritage Trust, worth the £15000 a year the BMC is paying for it?