Customer of the Month: Kirsty Loudon

We love celebrating our customers, you’re all part of Team FINDRA. Our Customer of the Month feature is back this August, and this month we'd like to introduce you to Scottish Borders local Kirsty Loudon!
Kirsty in her caddon

Hey Kirsty! Tell us about your favourite ways to get outside.

I am an outside gal so any way. I have a dog, a black labradoodle, so have to walk Lily several times a day. But love cycling, road and mtb. Just back from sea kayaking holiday and great perspective sitting on the water with seals popping up. I also love trail running and hill running though very puffy going up hills! Been injured last 15 months so not been able to run but hoping to start again soon…while biking has been great, it is easier just to put on a pair of shoes. Especially when icy roads, I can usually find an off-road route that is not so hazardous! I also like cross country skiing and was wearing FINDRA this winter when visiting friends in Trysil in Norway.

How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?

All my life. I was born in Ilkley in Yorkshire and think got my legs walking the Yorkshire moors at an early age, no doubt humming “On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at”. Moved up to Edinburgh when I was 8 and started walking up into the Pentlands with my dad - bribed with chocolate. Seriously we did do a bit of singing “Green Grow the Rushes, O” was a favourite. Projects I chose to do in primary school were “Trees” when I was out before school sometimes doing bark rubbings in the local park and “A patch of grass” drawing the flowers and grasses in a metre square and learning their names. When I started uni, I started climbing Munros and tried ice and rock climbing. Bit of exciting stuff in Norway, jumped the horns of Svolværgeita - a rather exciting pinnacle in Lofoten with a 1000 metre drop into the graveyard below and climbed Romsdalshorn by Trollvegen as the Norwegian ski jump team abseiled down!

The FINDRA route

What's been your favourite trip or adventure?

It is hard to choose; a brilliant trip was a graduation present white water rafting down the Colorado from Phantom Ranch in Arizona. The colours, the icy cold water and the rapids were spectacular. I have never forgotten the slit of night sky from the campsite and watching the satellites pass over and the milky way so clear and bright. I also had a seriously exciting adventure kayaking round Jura few years ago, wild camping. We left Tayvallich in foggy conditions paddling gently through calm waters and groups of guillemots quietly “cooing” to each other. We then came round the coast past George Orwell’s house where he wrote “1984”, sticking to the shore listening to the roar of the Corryvreckan whirlpool with a sea eagle overhead…otters round the corner. Conditions didn’t stay like that and I then experienced the hardest journey battling the winds down the west coast with the Atlantic waves. Next June looking forward to kayaking from Barra to Mingulay with Clearwater Paddling, really hoping the weather is kind, the caves and the wildlife are amazing.

Kirsty sporting a FINDRA headband

Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?

I think my parents, as they got my sisters and me outside as children. I read a lot of naturalist books and I was given lots of the pocket observer books as presents. We had most of our holidays in Mull and Iona as children, just playing in the sand and looking in rockpools. I do remember the rain! We used to ride ponies whatever the weather. And with no telly until 13 (got one to watch “Life on earth” and “Scooby doo”) we were outside quite a lot playing “block 1, 2, 3” and games with the next-door neighbours. I discovered John Muir and the Sierra Club when in the USA and subsequently the John Muir Trust in Scotland when came back. I love his writing and inspiring quotes and treasure our really wild land where there is no evidence of humans if you scan the land, wherever you stand. An increasingly rare occurrence!

Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your well-being and mental health?

I need to get outside, particularly into nature, or I don’t feel great. If I am working at home, I can get quite focussed and stiff realising I've not moved for quite a long time. Just going out the door with my dog does make me feel better and work more effectively, gives me perspective and my brain keeps working on something while I am looking at the clouds or the birds. Then I realise what I have to do when I am on my way back to sit down again. I just physically feel better being outside, the sun on my face, the warmth - special when it isn’t always there ; -) and the wind waken me up.

A FINDRA bobble hat

Do you wear your FINDRA when you're not outdoors?

I do wear FINDRA rather a lot. I often work from home and like cosy light comfortable clothes so I use it every day, going out to the pub and travelling. It is also great for going straight from a run to a video conference call!

When did you discover FINDRA and what's your favourite piece?

I think I discovered FINDRA quite early on. I live near Innerleithen where the first shop opened, and have lots of friends who live there and in the Scottish Borders. I noticed on Facebook that there were FINDRA bike rides, trail runs so signed up for them. But it was a good friend from university, one of your ambassadors, Jo Moseley, that suggested I sign up for your newsletters and get the 10% discount on my first purchase! I am not much of a shopper and don’t like trailing round shops so FINDRA has made it easy for me to buy clothes and feel good supporting a local business. I am new to mtb so it was nice to just get kit locally that was designed by a lovely woman, Alex, that was exactly what I needed without me having to do any legwork looking for it! I have also just discovered great for kayaking too, shorts were comfortable damp, very light and dried quickly. I love my Ailsa tops, turquoise merino tee, and my red, white, black fine wool hat from “seconds” basket which is usually with me! I think my favourite is my first purchase, the navy marin cowl neck stripe top with grey and white elbows. It is very flattering and cosy! With all the rain we’ve had recently, the evenings have felt bit cooler so I am wearing it now as I write watching the nearly full moon rise…

Thanks so much to Kirsty for taking the time to chat to us. You can still get that 10% discount if you sign up to our newsletter (visit our website and scroll to the bottom).

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