Hey Jen! Tell everybody where are you based and what you do!
I am based in Peebles in the Scottish Borders. I have two jobs; I am Head of Outdoor Education at the Edinburgh Academy, I am qualified to teach biking, hiking, climbing and skiing. At school I run a range of activities and expeditions, my passion is to empower young people to develop a growth mindset through adventure - what I describe as an adventure mindset. I can bore you to tears on that!!! Its all about the 4 Ps!! I also run my own business called FAB - we specialise in teaching an adventure toolkit of skills! Outdoor First Aid, Navigation, leadership etc. I am also a member of Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team and have been for a very long time! Over 15yrs!
What are you favourite ways to get outside?
Anything, honestly! I even do my yoga practice and meditation outside! I love to swim in the river after a run, mountain or road biking, skiing back country or on the piste, mountaineering, climbing, taking photos..... just being outside is great. When it comes to activities I have always felt that if I understand the basic principles I will manage the next bit - I am lucky that I think of things in small sections, not looking at the intimidating whole picture but just the next bit I need to know!
My Dad wanted us to try lots of things, to be able to turn our hand to anything and take up any opportunity we wanted. From an early age we would canoe on the river, play squash, build dams in the river, camp, climb trees, Ski, Sledge, build stuff and for me, I was into horses and sailing. A real jack of all trades mentality.... We had no choice when it came to going outside to be honest, Mum would wrap us up and tell us to come home for tea, living in Eddleston we had the run of the place and would find lots of places to have adventures. Freedom is important to me and being free to roam around, be part of nature and enjoy the company of like minded folks.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
My earliest memory was when I was about 3yrs old. I told my Dad I was walking home, we were in Peebles at the time and we lived in Eddleston, I remember clearly the plan I had to walk along the river....
What's been your favourite trip or adventure?
A few years ago a pupil of mine with cerebral palsy wanted to hike up a munro, he said before he was 30..... I persuaded him we could do it before he left school - due to massive amounts of training on his side and supportive stuff on my side he made it to the summit and met 30+ of his school mates there. James has to think about each step he takes and was awesome during the whole day.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
My Dad for sure and I read Tracy Edwards Maiden book when I was a teenager. My Dad has a growth mindset, he taught us (I am the middle child of 3) to believe that challenge is good for us and that at the start of everything everyone is a beginner. Effort and perseverance, having lots of laughs and some pretty tricky moments gave us all a sense that adventure was within our reach. The basic toolkit of skills was started when we were young, Dad simply helped us to sharpen our tools on a regular basis, from navigating to horse riding, windsurfing to camping trips! Mum was the brains behind the operation and made sure we had proper wholesome food at the end of each day. Raised as a vegetarian our diet was a bit unconventional back in the day! Now of course we would be very much on trend! Mum made sure we could all cook and look after ourselves, making sure we hung up our messy kit and generally keeping us right.
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
Definitely. In the last couple of years I have started to include mindfullness and meditation along with yoga and tech free expeditions for my pupils. Nature and connecting to it each day is the key to me being connected to myself and my environment. The Swimming I do now was directly because I felt I was a bit disconnected from nature, the only solution was to get into cold water and really connect with the environment! you have no choice but to consider your breathing when you are swimming. The view of nature is stunning and it makes me feel truly alive! The challenge was to keep swimming for 12 months of the year, so far so good!
Do you wear FINDRA when you're not outdoors?
I sure do, I wear the stripy merino base layer lots and the sleeves are amazing - I love a hat and the colours that Alex has designed are right up my street!
When did you discover FINDRA and what's your favourite piece?
I found Findra pretty much when the Innerleithen shop opened and I was keen to support a local business run by an inspiring woman doing stuff that I can connect with. My favourite piece has got to be the wooly sleeves, I use them most days, they are super good in countries with mixed climate and they are always in my rescue kit! The wrist is a great place to keep warm along with the neck!