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Kate O'Brien back in Inverness supporting city's fledgling outdoor group Aban


By Neil MacPhail

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Kate O'Brien with girls on a previous expedition.
Kate O'Brien with girls on a previous expedition.

AS a young girl growing up in Inverness, Kate O’Brien went to Brownies at Green Drive in Lochardil in the early 1990s.

Now 30 years on, she is returning to the Green Drive Hall next door to head up a new holiday camp for teenage girls.

Over five days starting on Monday, October 11 she will pass on her biking skills and build up to an overnight bikepacking expedition.

Kate said: “It feels great to be coming back to the hall after all these years. When I was growing up in Lochardil this camp for teenage girls is exactly the kind of thing I would have loved to do.”

Kate’s day job is working for The Outward Bound Trust, where she is in charge of a nationwide project to support young women working in the outdoor industry. However in her home town she is now lending her support to new local social enterprise Àban.

It is a not-for-profit outdoor community established earlier this year, which aims to help young people to spend more time outdoors on local adventures.

Àban’s founder Johannes Petersen said: “Àban’s expert staff don’t just lead groups in the traditional ‘top-down’ sense.

“We give guidance and help youngsters to take risks in a safe way by mastering outdoor skills and then help them to choose the right environment to explore.

“Then they can go on their own adventures in local wild places. It’s a return to the kind of independent outdoor play which previous generations were brought up on.”

The holiday programme will expand next year to include activities and different age groups for boys and girls.

Now Àban is helping young people in Inverness rediscover and enjoy the wild places on their doorstep.

Àban has also started a new Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group for those wanting to take on the Gold Award.


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