Each week, we’ll be introducing one of the 16 amazing ambassadors who are helping the #ItsUptoUs campaign by stepping up to #SaveMountainPaths.
This week, we’re meeting Keri Wallace – mountain runner, rock climber, freelance writer and co-founder of Girls on Hills!
Keri tells us: “I am co-founder of trail running company, Girls on Hills – based in Glencoe. Our aim is to empower women with the skills and confidence to become more independent in the mountain environment. We advocate for gender equity in our sport and encourage women to try hill-walking and trail running in the Scottish Highlands.
“Running in the mountains gives a sense of freedom and self-reliance that is hard to quantify. It allows us to escape the rat-race, seek adventure and stretch our comfort zones – to discover what our bodies and minds are really capable of.
“This is made possible by access to a rugged landscape where we have a responsible right to explore but also where runnable trails provide an efficient ingress to remote places and stunning scenery. Trails assist us in linking and journeying through these unique spaces and provide a framework for racing competitively or following in others’ footsteps. They also provide a handrail for those taking their first steps into unfamiliar places, building confidence and finding their way.
“I became an ambassador for the It’s Up to Us campaign to encourage likeminded hill-lovers to step up and help maintain the trails we know and love – as well as and the ones we are yet to set foot upon in our quest for adventure…”
Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) are delighted to announce Cotswold Outdoor as the official sponsor of a new three-year campaign to raise £300,000 for much-needed path repairs on An Teallach, one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains. The campaign – called It’s Up to Us – will also raise awareness of the desperate need for investment in the repair and maintenance of informal mountain paths situated on land outside of Scotland’s national parks and NGO estates.
Launched at an event in Perth last month, which was attended by many well-known members of the mountain-using community, It’s Up to Us encourages outdoor enthusiasts, active tourism businesses and organisations that care deeply about Scotland’s hills and mountains to step up and give something back by donating to the fundraising appeal.
One company that has answered the call is Cotswold Outdoor. For almost 50 years, the retailer has been helping people explore the great outdoors together. They have a genuine commitment to minimise their environmental impact, actively protecting the places we love, and helping everyone to enjoy the outdoors in a responsible way. They’re also working towards a more circular economy that’s better for the great outdoors and everyone who enjoys exploring it, too.
Jose Finch, Managing Director for Cotswold Outdoor, said: “At Cotswold Outdoor, we believe everyone’s happier outside, which is why protecting the great outdoors we love to explore is so important. For that reason, we’re proud to support Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland’s new It’s Up to Us campaign, providing funds to support vital mountain footpath repair across Scotland’s incredible landscapes and mountains so we can enjoy them for years to come.”
Mountaineering Scotland CEO, Stuart Younie, added: “Mountaineering Scotland has a longstanding partnership with Cotswold Outdoor, who provide a 15% discount as part of our package of member benefits, and we are delighted they have also chosen to become the lead sponsor for It’s Up to Us.
“It’s important that, as one of the UK’s leading outdoor retailers, they have recognised the need to step up to support this campaign. Reports show that the Sporting and Outdoor Equipment Retailer industry was worth £11.5bn* in 2022, and we hope that more outdoor retailers and gear manufacturers will follow the example of Cotswold Outdoor by getting on board to support the campaign and thinking about donating some of their profits to help repair mountain paths in Scotland.”
CEO of the Outdoor Access Trust Scotland, Dougie Baird, explained: “A key campaign target for It’s Up to Us is get the message across to hillwalkers and all mountain users that we all need to be prepared to give something back to the mountains that we benefit from.
“The extensive path erosion works required on An Teallach have no access to government money of any sort. With the partnership with such a strong brand as Cotswold Outdoor, we are looking to reach out to those who really care for the mountains and to encourage them to give something back to the hills that so enrich their lives; maybe even to consider a small donation every time they head into the hills, what they can, when they can, through our fundraising appeal.”
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On Thursday 25th of May, Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland will officially launch their new partnership campaign – It’s Up to Us – at an event in Perth’s Black Watch Castle & Museum.
The project aims to raise awareness of the challenges facing many of Scotland’s upland paths and the importance of maintaining them for the safety and benefit of people that use them and for the protection of the fragile mountain environment.
Mountaineering Scotland and OATS have earmarked the hill path from Dundonnell on An Teallach, one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains, for investment from the It’s Up to Us fundraising appeal. The campaign will initially focus on raising £300,000 to repair the badly damaged path on An Teallach, as well as awareness-raising of the lack of funds available for similar mountain paths on private land.
The launch event will begin with a short introduction to the project and preview of the It’s Up to Us campaign video, which was filmed on location on An Teallach over two days in May.
Several campaign ambassadors – including Cameron McNeish, Ross Cunningham, Kerri Wallace and Sean Green – will also speak at the event, discussing the importance of Scotland’s mountain paths from the viewpoint of different areas of the mountain-using community.
Alongside team members from Mountaineering Scotland, the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland and the Scottish Mountaineering Trust.