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Ramblers Scotland offers young people in Inverness the chance to get walking with the charity's Out There Award

By John Davidson

Young people on a previous Out There Award programme enjoy a walk in the countryside.
Young people on a previous Out There Award programme enjoy a walk in the countryside.

Young adults in Inverness are being given the opportunity to learn new skills to help them get out and about in the great outdoors.

Ramblers Scotland is encouraging people aged 18 to 26 to sign up to a free three-day scheme which will introduce them to some of the fundamental skills needed to stay safe and make the most of the countryside.

It is expected that around 15 young adults from the Inverness area will take part in the walking charity's Out There Award scheme, the first one to be held in the Highland capital.

Previous schemes have seen around 50 people take part in the programme in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Tayside.

As well as learning about basic navigation, hill safety and route planning, they will plan and take on their own challenging group walk in nearby countryside.

Ramblers Scotland’s young adult development project officer Sam Knight said: “We’re excited about how the Out There Award is helping break down the barriers that stop more young people from enjoying the benefits of Scotland’s amazing outdoors – and can’t wait to launch it in Inverness, especially as the city is surrounded by such brilliant countryside.

“Research shows that too often young people lack walking partners and knowledge of where to walk, so I hope that many young adults in and around Inverness will grasp this free and fun opportunity to learn new skills, sample local hills and meet like-minded people.”

The Scottish Government’s Active Scotland division has helped fund the Out There Award, which will consist of three training days, focusing on either walking, volunteering or outdoor skills. Further funding has come from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Scotland's Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick said: “The Scottish Government is delighted to support this award scheme, which provides young adults with new skills and the confidence to make the most of the great outdoor spaces we have on our doorstep in Scotland.

“Being active outdoors is not only valuable for physical health, it also contributes to an improved sense of wellbeing, and I hope all the participants enjoy this experience.”

Everyone who completes all three elements will earn an Out There Award certificate, 1000 Young Scot points, a neck buff and one year of Ramblers membership, worth up to £36.60.

The Inverness Out There Award starts at Inverness Leisure on Saturday, March 14. To apply, go to ramblers.org.uk/outthereaward

Across Scotland, a total of 120 participants are expected to have completed the Out There Award by autumn 2020 – of whom at least half will be women.

Participants will be introduced to Ramblers Scotland’s five Young Walkers groups, so they can continue to build their confidence outdoors in future and meet like-minded people.

The award is part of the walking charity’s Out There campaign, which is helping many more people feel the benefits of Scotland's landscapes and world-class access rights.

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