Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?
I’m Kirsty, I’m mixed race (half Indian), and I live on the West coast of Scotland! I’m love all kinds of climbing, and it’s all I pretty much think about year round, so I’ll usually be planning my next adventure whether that’s trad, sport, bouldering or winter climbing! I’ve also been getting more into swimming and dips the last few years, and now tend to have my bikini in my climbing bag so not to miss out on a chance!
Give us three words that you identify with most?
Fun-loving (does that count as one!), adventurous, and uplifting.
What brings you the most joy outdoors?
Spending time with great people, both good friends and new friends to-be! I’m not very good at getting out by myself, but using the outdoors to bond, meet and deepen relationships is great. Once you have shared an experience outdoors, you have a better connection than if you’d just gone to a cafe! Also the sunshine, I have to be outside when it’s sunny otherwise I get grumpy!
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
I’ve struggled with my self confidence in climbing and pushing my grade, so it’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can try a bit harder. Something that helps me is getting out with strong supportive women, who don’t let you make any excuses for not doing something they know you can! It’s something I will probably always be working on, but it’s all part of the challenge and makes achieving your goals that bit sweeter!
If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be?
The outdoors should be a welcoming and natural place for everyone, so don’t judge when you see folk from backgrounds that have less of a history of being outdoors in the UK. Also absolutely do not assume that they are novices and need your unsolicited advice!! This happens to women and people of colour a lot, which just detracts from the day out! Also pick up your damn litter and don’t leave anything out there!!
Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?
Be mindful of what you say to people when you meet them walking or climbing. What you may think is an innocent comment, might make another person feel uncomfortable. Adjust your attitude to not be surprised at seeing folk from different backgrounds and cultures outside, and educate yourself on how you can actively make it a more positive experience. We have a lot of power in how people perceive the outdoors, and I believe that we should be working to make it a space that everyone feels they can share and enjoy. After all, we understand the benefits of being outdoors, so why wouldn’t we want more folk to be out!