I am so lucky to meet so many good folk over the years. Many are like me they love mountains and the Wild places. A few years ago I was asked to speak at the Arran Mountain Festival and the speakers before were Lucy and Kirstie who had run all the Arran hills above 700 metres. They did this to raise cash for the local Arran MRT and Mulanje ( Malawi). Both are team member’s. Their talk held in the Corrie Village Hall was superb and a hard act to follow. I loved their enthusiasm and love of Arran and its wildness.
This is what they wrote after their trip.
“Kirstie & I are bowled over by the support, good wishes & hard cash is been pouring in. There’s no denying that it was a tough day. 36km and over 3000m of ascent over 17 long hours. We couldn’t have done it without the help of many folk, inc Kirstie’s partner Mark who drove us to Pirnmill at 4am after a lifeboat callout, & Wally, who physically put us on the summit of A’chir. Our awesome colleagues in Arran MRT were also called out late that night but didn’t call us so as not to jeopardise the attempt. Thank you everyone!They raised £2,417 to support Mountain Rescue on the Isle of Arran (Scotland) and Mulanje (Malawi) To me folk like this are incredible.
Lucy is now the first woman President of Ramblers Scotland
“Well-known blogger and mountain leader Lucy Wallace will become the first woman president of Ramblers Scotland, the walking charity announced today.
Lucy is a professional wildlife guide and outdoor instructor who holds the Winter, Summer and International Mountain Leader awards. She is an accredited Duke of Edinburgh’s Award assessor, working with schools and young people on expeditions throughout Scotland.
She will succeed countryside ranger Ben Dolphin as Ramblers Scotland’s honorary figurehead, following the organisation’s AGM in North Berwick this weekend. She follows in the footsteps of the late conservationist Dick Balharry, award-winning broadcaster Cameron McNeish and Dr Andrew Murray, who was the Scottish Government’s first Physical Activity Champion.
Lucy hopes to use her presidency to encourage even more people to appreciate Scotland’s landscapes and world-class access rights – and to enjoy the health and social benefits of adventures on foot.
Lucy, who is 45 and lives on the Isle of Arran, said: “It will be a huge honour to become Ramblers Scotland’s first female president, and I hope to be the first of many. So many women enjoy Scotland’s outdoors, yet there is a distinct lack of female voices in prominent positions.
“The number of people walking for fun is booming, and I want to use this role to encourage even more people to get outdoors and to build a stronger connection with the amazing natural environment we’re so lucky to have on our doorsteps here in Scotland. I’m also looking forward to meeting our members and joining them in the hills!”
Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy was delighted to have Lucy on board but recognised the appointment of a female president was a “long overdue” step forward in the organisation’s 35-year history.
He said: “We feel truly lucky to have Lucy on board. As a passionate advocate for the outdoors and a highly experienced mountain leader, she has introduced hundreds of people to the natural world, making her the ideal person to inspire even more people to enjoy our country on foot.
“Women have played a hugely-influential role in the history of Scottish outdoor pursuits, from pioneers like Jane Inglis Clark and Nan Shepherd, to more modern heroes like Muriel Gray, Heather Morning and Hazel Strachan.
“While we are excited to welcome our first female president, we entirely recognise that this is a long overdue milestone, particularly as about two-thirds of Ramblers Scotland’s members and more than half our volunteer walk leaders are female.”
The voluntary position is elected on an annual basis, with presidents often serving for the maximum term of three years.
Lucy Wallace grew up in southern England and initially trained as an archaeologist. She moved to Scotland in 2005 with her outdoor instructor husband Wally. She has previously worked at an outdoor centre on Arran and as RSPB Scotland’s information officer for the island before setting up her own wildlife guiding and mountain leading business.”
This is Lucy article.
In typical unassuming fashion Lucy wrote this piece to me its wonderful. I hope you enjoy it.
Place to Play
Anywhere in the West Highlands, but especially the rocky peaks of the Isle of Arran, which I’m lucky enough to call my backyard.
Not a lot of people know this
I trained and worked as a palaeolithic archaeologist for a number of years before becoming a Mountain Leader.
“Rambling post alert 📣This is a piece I wrote for a writing course I’m doing….
I knew, as soon as I saw this on the horizon, that the garden was going to be important.
“Seeds. We need some seeds.”
We stood in Morrisons in Fort William, trying hard not to panic buy. There was no pasta, no paracetamol, no loo-roll, no soap and no hand-sanitiser. We were coming to the end of our planned time in the Highlands, and heading back to Arran soon. We’d realised that if we didn’t hurry up, we might no make it back at all. Staring blankly at the carousel of Mr Fothergill’s finest, I was trying hard to remember what I’d had success with before. “Gardener’s delight, they are supposed to be good, lets get those… We can’t afford to go mad, £5 worth of seeds, that’s our max”.
In the end we spent £4 on tomatoes, beans, rocket, cavolo nero, and some perpetual spinach that would fail to come up.
When we first bought our little house, we put time and energy into a small veggie plot that was surprisingly productive. It’s a narrow strip, that slopes steeply from the wave cut platform on the shore up to a strip of woodland bordering fields on the moor above. We have a tiny square of lawn behind “first shed”, followed by the veggie patch, which nestles under a rowan tree and the “second shed”. Above shed number two, is a jungle of trees and nettles, as well as infuriatingly persistent invasive species, including Himalayan balsam and rhododendron. Amazingly, we have almost eradicated a virulent patch of knotweed.
As work and our business picked up, we became victims of our own success and before long both of us were too busy, working all over the place, to really care for the garden. The best we could do was keep on top of the invasive species. Our loss was the wildlife’s gain, and an enormous bramble patch took hold where once I’d proudly grown potatoes.
Returning home this spring, lockdown happened within days. Work evaporated. Suddenly we were as time rich as we were cash poor. But we still had to hurry- it was a race against the seasons to clear the brambles and get seedlings in the ground.
I’ve tried hard to make amends to the wildlife for the loss of the brambles. I’ve kept some along the fence line, and left stands of self seeded wild raspberries for the birds. Everything has been organic, mulched with bracken and seaweed. I’ve used home made compost that had been sitting idle for years, (not that we could afford anything else), and brewed the most offensive nettle tea fertilizer. My mum sent me heritage kale, lettuce and mangetout seeds, but I’ve stayed true to that original £4, chitted old spuds from the supermarket, and swapped spare kale and tomato seedlings locally for courgettes, pumpkins, cucumbers and comfrey. My spring onions have been re-grown from kitchen scraps.
Time spent tending the patch has brought me close to my garden in new ways. The robin that follows me attentively, the blackbird that squawks angrily, the tireless wren family and the slow worm in my compost heap have all given me joy. I’ve had surprisingly few battles with slugs, probably thanks to the slow worm, but have done daily rounds to pick caterpillars off the kale and piles of crap from the neighbour’s cats out of the rocket beds.
We have now reached a peak in output for many of our crop. The mangetout plants are capsizing under the weight of their productivity. There is enough lettuce to sink a battleship full of caterpillars and so much winter kale that I have started cutting the young plants just to get a head start on it. I’m still waiting on tomatoes, pumpkins and cucumbers, but the courgettes are imminent. I’m not sure whether the dwarf beans are going to do much, but I haven’t given up. There have been little surprises, such as self seeded kale, that must have been lying in wait for a decade in the fertile garden soil, and a patch of nasturtiums, that I have not seen since 2009. A rambling rose, smothered in baby pink blooms, and badly in need of taming, has eaten the first shed whole.
It’s been a journey of discovery, both in the physical sense, and of myself. I’ve talked to my seedlings, worried about the sickly and egged on the healthy ones. I’m absurdly proud of every bowl of veg that comes from soil to plate, it feels like a victory against the times. £4 and countless hours of labour and I feel like a miniature farmer. Out of work, and confined to barracks, I may not have been much use to anyone else of late, but I have not been idle.”
Thanks – Lucy
Lucy lives in Arran and runs – MOUNTAIN WALKS AND WILDLIFE WATCHING
Discover the breathtaking mountains, heather clad moors and rugged coastline of Arran with qualified Mountain Leaders. Walking on Arran is the best way to experience the beauty of Arran’s scenery and magnificent wildlife. See charismatic animals such as otters, harbour seals, golden eagles and red deer in their natural habitat.
07825 644161 email@example.com
Lucy wrote. I’m a Mountain Leader based on Arran but work all over Scotland and sometimes, the world. When I’m not guiding in the hills I’m also a wildlife guide and run otter watching trips. I work in both the outdoor education and leisure sectors.