Tell everyone where are you based and what you do!
Hello, I am Val Brunton and I live in Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders and have been a chef for over 15 years.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
The outdoors has been a part of my life since forever. I was brought up on a farm as a country girl and my father bred cattle and grew crops. We had a family joke that when I got home from school my Dad would let the collie have a rest while I rounded up the cattle. I wish I could still run like that!
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
Way too many to put one on the top of the list! However, visiting India was very special, we stayed in hotels that all had the green flag meaning that they grow all their own fruit and vegetables to prepare and serve on site. One place even made their own writing paper! The biggest bonus of the trip was my experience being able to cook with the chef in each hotel. But I still love a busman’s holidays and so my favourite place in Scotland is definitely Harris.
How do you manage to find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities i.e. work and family?
Not very well! This is because I often find saying ‘NO’ very difficult. Luckily I have a few friends that are good at calling me and say ‘Val get your hiking boots on or get that Paddleboard out and I will meet you at St Mary's Loch’.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
Has to be my father. His enthusiasm for his work has stuck with me right through my working career.
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
Absolutely, I often just stand and take in my surroundings and then hear a little voice saying ‘slow down and do more of this’.
What is it about walking specifically that you love?
I just love walking with my dogs, watching them run and chase each other in their hay day.
When did you discover FINDRA?
I was first introduced to FINDRA years ago when Alex was first doing research on what people wanted from outdoor clothes. I have enjoyed watching FINDRA grow, it’s a great asset to our town.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
What do you feel is the key motivational or inspirational message you would like to highlight to our followers that would inspire them to get outdoors more.
Take every opportunity in doing the things you love, just writing this I am inspired to to start doing more of the things I love.
A few of Val's favourite things
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
Reminds me of my 1st trip to Thailand
My favourite recipe is Yotam Ottolenghi's Aubergine cannelloni stuffed with paneer; spinach cooked in Dal.
Favourite place to get outdoors
Locally my favourite place is Kailzie Garden.
I just find it so peaceful, plus it has a nice café which in my trade is always a bonus. My favourite day trip has to be a drive through to North Berwick, walk on the beach and have some fresh seafood.