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My Outdoors Q&A: Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser with Mountaineering Scotland


By John Davidson

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Heather Morning is looking forward to getting the craic in the hills again after lockdown.
Heather Morning is looking forward to getting the craic in the hills again after lockdown.

Name: Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser with Mountaineering Scotland

Age: Not yet over the hill!

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you normally do.

I have spent my whole life working and playing in the mountains of the world. My normal work is all about education and training in the outdoors. Looking at why people get into difficulties in the mountains from the mountain rescue stats; then providing education and training through a programme of events to mitigate against these hazards. Examples would be navigation, scrambling and winter skills courses, evening lectures and working with the media to promote safe practice in the mountains.

Where are you based/where do you live?

I’m based near Aviemore in the Highlands and my office base is at Glenmore Lodge, the National Outdoor Training Centre.

How have you been filling the void of the great outdoors during lockdown and what has been the biggest change for you?

The biggest change undoubtedly has been not being able to catch up with my pals for our usual adventures. That said, I am truly lucky, I live in a remote location so our local walks and bike rides close to home take us into some cracking forest areas with views (at least) of the local Feshie Hills.

There is no doubt that my two bikes have become my ‘best friends’ and lifesavers. I just love heading out on my mountain bike on the local forest trails exploring new tracks or jumping on the road bike enjoying the fantastically quiet roads. I feel very blessed to have the freedom to do this and often (literally) see no-one!

What are you missing most about the freedom of the outdoors just now?

The wind in my hair, the journeys, the wide open spaces, the views, the craic with my pals.

Have you found any positives in lockdown?

Yes, stepping off the treadmill and taking time for me. I’m dedicated to a yoga programme online called Yoga with Adriene, I’m getting fit and strong on the bike and I’m loving the time spent watching the wildlife in our garden. We are lucky enough to have lots of red squirrels which are enjoying their newly built ‘Squiggy Hopper’ and each evening we leave food out for our local badgers which visit around dusk. I’ve learnt a family of badgers is called a ‘clan’, the males are ‘boars’ and the females ‘sows’.

What is the first place you plan to visit, or route you plan to do, once lockdown restrictions are eased to the point we can travel more freely?

My first trip will be to visit my 88-year-old mum who lives on her own in Penrith and has really been struggling to cope with the restrictions of lockdown. Then a trip out west to enjoy the wide open spaces, mountain tops, glens and coast line.

What event or events are you looking forward to once things are up and running again, whenever that might be?

Being able to run Mountaineering Scotland courses again and catch up with some of my colleagues and students who attend the courses.

Do you have a favourite outdoors book or author?

Sort of outdoors, I’m right into the murder mystery author Anne Cleeves, I’m currently enjoying her Shetland series.

www.mountaineering.scot


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