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E21 TRANSCRIPT: Guiding Hikes & Outdoor Diversity with Kirsty Pallas | Wild For Scotland


[MUSIC starts - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]

FRAN: This podcast is part of the Tremula Network, adventure and outdoor podcasts off the beaten track. To find out more, head to or find us on socials.

[MUSIC starts - ON THE OUTSIDE theme - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]

FRAN: (over music) Hello and welcome to On The Outside, the podcast sharing diverse views on what’s happening outdoors.

[MUSIC ends]

My name is Francesca Turauskis, I am the host and producer of On The Outside and today I have a crossover episode for you from one of the other shows in the Tremula Network. Now obviously on this show, we have conversations with a range of people from all across the outdoors in the UK and we jump straight into those conversations with just a small introduction to each of the speakers that you hear from. Well today’s episode is going to give you a bit more background to one of our regular panellists, Kirsty Pallas.

So Kirsty as you might remember was in our Kendal 2021 episode, she was in the episode about climbing whilst pregnant, and she brought us the conversation about Afghanistan’s connections to outdoor culture.

This conversation comes from a podcast called Wild For Scotland. And Wild For Scotland as you may guess is for SCotland lovers around the world. It is created and hosted by Kathi Kamleitner, who is an award-winning travel blogger who writes about Scotland and it lets you leanback and travel to Scotland through your headphones.

For the past couple of seasons, as well as having immersive stories about Kathi’s journeys around Scotalnd, the show also had interviews with guests from all over the country as well, and one of those guests was Kirsty. So in this conversation between Kathi and Kirsty you will get to hear about Kirty’s path to becoming a mountain leader and climbing guide, her passion for the Argyll area of Scotalnd and of course a bit more about her work with her own community, OUr Shared Outdoors. And unlike most of the ON The Outside episodes, this conversation was recorded in person and we did it on a trip when I was up there in Scotland. So whilst you don’t hear my voice, I was the producer for this episode and as well as the chat, you’ll get some field recordings of a walk that Kirsty took me and Kathi on whilst we were there. It was a really lovely walk that we went on and it is of course a really interesting chat as well. So I hope that you enjoy.

[MUSIC starts - WILD FOR SCOTLAND theme by Bruce Wallace: Jolly guitar picked tune with jumpy tom tom drums behind]

Hello there, and welcome to Wild for Scotland,

A podcast full of inspiring stories from Scotland.

I’m your host, Kathi Kamleitner.

Wild for Scotland helps you connect with Scotland

and dream about future adventures.

I’ll tell you immersive stories to whisk you away,

Share some of my top tips for your own Scotland trip,

And introduce you to inspiring locals and their stories.

So, lean back and enjoy -

Let’s travel to Scotland!

[main theme tune end]


Today we are continuing our journey to the Isle of Kerrera on the west coast of Scotland, and you’ll get to meet the person who suggested we go there in the first place.

Kirsty Pallas is a mountain guide and climbing instructor from Argyll. She has spent many a family days out on the Isle of Kerrera and as an avid island bagger, I was very excited to take her up on the suggestion to explore this wee island near Oban together.

If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode ‘Traces’ yet, it is worth going back in order to learn a bit about the island and get a sense of what my day trip with Kirsty looked like.

For now, let’s get back to Kirsty though. I knew I wanted to have a mountain leader on the show, because even though I’ve climbed a fair share of mountains in Scotland and beyond, I love hiring a guide whenever I’m exploring a new mountain area. There’s just something about the safety net they provide, but also the knowledge of local stories and landscapes, that make a day out in the hills with a guide even more enjoyable.

Our day with Kirsty was no exception. About halfway through our walk, we sat down at the Kerrera Tea Garden, set up our mics and started talking about her life as a climbing instructor, her passion for the hills and islands of Argyll and some of the issues that are dear to her heart.

I really hope you enjoy our conversation. Let’s hear it from Kirsty Pallas.

[Wild For Scotland jingle by Bruce Wallace - bouncy glockenspiel tune with electric bass beat behind]


Kirsty Pallas: I'm Kirsty Pallas I use she/her pronouns, and I am a mountaineering instructor and general mountain person in on the west coast of Scotland.

Kathi Kamleitner: What does that entail being a maintenance mountaineering instructor or a mountain person? What does that mean?

KP: It means I spend most of my life in waterproofs! [Both laugh] Or this year anyway! Erm, No. So, I do a mix of things, just taking people out to experience the mountains, mostly in Scotland, whether it's for their first time heading up a hill or doing the Monroe [sheep noise in the background] or guiding er some classic scrambles, like the Aonach Eagach or the Skye Cuillin. And then I do a bit of climbing work as well. So taking people climbing and teaching them to be, or helping them progress to becoming independent rock climbers. And I also work a little bit on training courses for new instructors too. So like on their mountain leader training courses and that kind of thing.

KK: And is that something, I know you've mentioned the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe ad the Cuillin on Skye, but is the Argyll area where you’re based - is that a good place to be based? Or do you does it take you all over Scotland? How does that work?

KP: Erm, most of the work is outside of Argyll. Yeah, most of the work I head up to Glencoe or Fort William or the Cairngorms or Skye. So yeah, it does take me all over. But I still like living here.

KK: I guess it's a good place to have access to all of those areas. And [KP: yeah] Many more.

KP: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it's a nice place. And it's just nice for doing other things as well. Like, I live really close to a beach, and I can just pop down there, or there's like mountain biking nearby and stuff like that. So I, I like living here, even though I have to drive a bit further to go to work.

KK: And were the mountains always part of your life? And was that always something you knew you wanted to do for your job? Or did that come a bit later?

KP: Yeah. A bit of a mix. So my parents would always take me and my sister out, hill walking when we were younger. So [sheep noise] my sister's two years younger than me, we did our first Munro when I was nine, and she was seven. We done a few since then, erm, they'd take us out every weekend to do something. But I didn't really realise it was a job option till I did work experience at school, and went to an outdoor centre working with like primary seven kids. And then I still, for the last couple of years of school, didn't completely think about it. But, erm, by the end of school, I was, I didn't want to go to uni, I knew I was kind of done with education for a little while. So did an outdoor education apprenticeship and just kind of took off from there.

KK: Tell me more about that, that because I think an apprenticeship that sounds so fascinating to [sheep noise] do in that kind of field. And I know now I guess there are, in so many of the colleges around Scotland, there are more of those kinds of outdoor qualification courses, [KP: Yeah] that are maybe a bit more tied, to like going to school like the traditional route, maybe of further education. But yeah, the apprenticeship that, how does that work? What did you learn? So how did that work?

KP: So I was working for an outdoor organisation. So it's a modern apprenticeship, which meant I would go out on the, like, on sessions assisting other instructors, the organisation, put me through some courses, erm while I was there, and then I got an SVQ as well, it's always a Scottish Vocational Qualification, I think the equivalent to an NVQ, the Scottish equivalent to an NVQ. So there's a bit of like, a bit of theory-based stuff too, but just, it meant that you got a lot of hands-on time, like doing the activities and working with groups, which I think is where it differs from some of the college courses, which are more, a bit more maybe theory based or you get like outdoor weeks where you go and do stuff, whereas most weeks for us were like outdoor weeks. [Both laugh] So yeah, and it gives us access to other qualified instructors who would take us out and in their free time, or, and we go and do other things.

KK: Yeah. And was it, would you say it was easy for you to get into that line of work? Or was it quite a challenge to get, be a part of that industry and kind of get a start and get a foothold?

KP: Erm, it was quite easy for me just with the situation like, I knew the organisation, that I did my apprenticeship with because I'd been on trips with them when I was a kid and stuff like that. And I think I basically just pestered them. [Both laugh] So yeah, it was quite easy for me. And it felt quite comfortable because I kind of knew, knew the organisation a little bit. And I started my apprenticeship with a friend as well. We started at the same time, so that was nice, too.

KK: And is your friend also still doing it now?

KP: Erm, no she has moved on into veterinary nursing.

KK: Oh, wow. Something [KP: Yeah] completely different.

Yeah. [KK: Yeah] But yeah, we had a great time. Erm, Lots of like, good memories of us just going out and jumping in the sea, or like, going up a mountain in the snow and then coming back and being like, maybe we should have got our ice axes out for that bit actually. But you know, it's all those little things, where you're like, Oh, yeah. It's good learning experiences. [KK Yeah]

KK: What I would really love to know is, what the kind of pathway is of getting to where you are now. I imagine that it will look different for a lot of different people, but certain qualifications, I am sure, are kind of a must. So what are the kind of milestones of that sort of career path?

KP: Yeah. So I, when I started my apprenticeship, I got a variety of qualifications for different activities. So I have some like for paddle sports and things like that. But I've, I've kind of like specialised into mountain, mountaineering, or that's where I've put most of my time and energy over the last few years. So it started for me with a mountain leader qualification and each of the qualifications have a training course, and then a consolidation period, and then an assessment course that you need to pass. So yeah, I started with my mountain leader training when I was 18. And then, I did an assessment a few years later. And then there was, it's now called the rock climbing instructor award, it was the single pitch award when I did it as well. So that is the course that allows you to like do climbing sessions with groups and that kind of thing. I then went on, well, at the same time as my rock climbing instructor actually, I did my winter mountain leader as well. So I can take people out in winter and look at some winter skills and erm yeah, do like winter journeys with people which is really really good fun. Erm, and then my kind of the, the latest one I've got is the mountaineering and climbing instructor. So that one moves on a little bit from both the mountain leader and the rock climbing instructor, and it allows you to take people scrambling, teach lead climbing for trad and sport climbing and also go multi-pitch climbing. So on bigger cliffs in the mountains and sea cliffs and that kind of thing.

KK: That's really really cool, but also quite scary. [Both laugh]

KP: It's a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes, yeah. Oh, yeah, these people's lives are kind of in my hands right now.

KK: Well, That really perfectly leads me to my next question. I was like, you know, what are some of the skills, I think, people, when I think of a mountain guide or a hiking guide, you know, you have an image in your head. But you don't necessarily think about all the skills that go into it. So what are some of the, you know, required skills? And what makes a good mountain leader?

KP: Yeah, so there's, you know, there's, it's quite easy to list like technical skills. So you know, you need to be able to, like, have safe rope systems and build safe belays and be able to judge when, when you need to change, like tactics to make things safe, and that kind of thing. So there's that side of things. But, I think a lot of what makes someone really good is the people skill side of things and being able to, like, just give your clients a good time. So be nice and chatty and stuff. But also be really aware, like if somebody's not enjoying it, and like, have loads of options up your sleeves or be able to chat people through things or think about how, just, just knowing people, and knowing the signs of when somebody is suddenly not having a good time, and it's probably not great to carry on. And being really adaptable. Yeah, I think there are probably some [Kathi: Yeah] key ones.

KK: Are there any kind of misconceptions you think people have about mountaineering leaders? [KP: Er Yes!] [Both laugh] And what are those?

KP: Usually like tall men, maybe with a beard? Optional beard. [Both laugh] But yeah,

KK: and your none of these things.

KP: I'm not, I am like five foot zero, maybe half an inch.

KK: [Laugh]. Will give you the half an inch!

KP: Yeah, yeah, [laughs] And I don't have a beard. Yeah. So I think sometimes people are surprised if I turn up. And they're like, Oh, you're gonna take us on this? And, Yeah, I think, I think people think you just have to look really big and strong. And I don't think I am particularly big. Well, I'm not big. I'm not like particularly strong. But you just need to be strong enough.

KK: I guess it's about efficiency as well. [KP: Yeah] When we were hiking up to or walking up to the fort on the hill.[KP: Yeah] on the island. It reminded me of another hiking guide, I went out with also a relatively short female hiking guide. And, erm, I remember thinking then and thinking again today, oh, mountain leaders are basically just like a mountain goat, they just are really nimble. [KP: laughs: Yeah] Maybe being short even helps [KP yeah] because your centre of gravity is lower. So adapt better to really steep cliffs, things like that.

KP: It's just well practised and experienced. Yeah.

KK: And I hope you don't mind, can I ask, have you ever had clients who seem to be you said people are sometimes surprised or seemed very sceptical of, of your abilities? Or?

KP: No, I don't think I've had anyone that's been outwardly sceptical. And I just, I think I'm quite, quite a chatty person. So I think they usually are just like, blather away. And then hopefully, people change their minds if they were. But I do find, sometimes that people like almost caring towards me, even though like they're my clients, [KK laughs] like, they're like, “Oh, you gonna be alright, on that section?” And I'm like, “Yes. Thank you. Thank you, though.” It's really nice. But yeah, like, Yeah, I think that's the main thing. But I mean, that's not it's not a bad thing. It's quite nice.

KK: It's not the worst thing in the world to ask if you Okay.

KP: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

KK: You've just taken us on a little tour on the Isle of Kerrera and we are now actually going to hear a clip from our walk and some of the things we've discovered on the island.


[Sound of wind and walking on gravel starts]

KP: The lady here we met. She also used to run the tea garden. And then some of my parent's neighbours ran it years and years and years ago as well. So yeah, it's had like a bit of a it's, it's always been there, it's always been run by people who, keep it with the same kind of atmosphere. It's very much like a nice community island vibe. [KK: Hmmm, in agreement] Not it's not like a commercial business venture. Really. [KK: Yeah]. It's there as a Kerrera thing, really. [KK: Laughs] And it brings tourists over as well, which is good. So they've had a community buy out of the schoolhouse [KK: Hmmm in agreement] to create a kind of community space, erm, for the island. Erm, And there's two local lads. I think when they were eight, they did a fundraising swim from the mainland to the Island to raise money as part of the, [KK: that's cool] I can't, I don't think it was for the buyout, but I think it was for the kind of bigger project. [KK: Yeah] But yeah, to be like, I don't think I'm sure I'd be able to float over, but I don't think I could swim over. [KK: Yeah] well, actually -

KK: It does seem, you know, it's not that far on a boat, but [KP: it's significant enough] the water must be moving in and out.

KP: Well, that's the other thing, 'cause the tide runs through.

KP: Yeah. So they do a triathlon over here called the craggy Island triathlon, which erm, starts with, it starts on the mainland, and the swim is erm, you swim over to the island. And then you pick up your bike, and you do cycle a lap of the island. And then you run up over the highest point. And so the mountain rescue, do kind of some of the marshalling and the safety cover. So I've been there for quite a few years, just often at the top of the island, erm. And I can look down and see the swim. And some years, everyone can swim in a straight-ish line, and other years, the tides like barreling through, and people are getting like the drift 500 metres [KK: wow! yeah], which didn't have to swim. So [KK: Yeah] the swims, it doesn't feel like a constant length. [KK: Hmm, just depends so much on tide] Yeah. And if you're a weaker swimmer and take longer, then you get shifted more. [KK: Yeah] You have more to swim. Yeah.

KK: Triathlons are, for other kinds of people but not me [both laugh] you have a specific mindset to, er, want that.

KP: Yeah

KK: I don’t!

KP: No, no it's not me I'd like to come over and bikes a loop, because I think it's quite fun [KK: Yeah] and it's nice going up to the highest point. But yeah, yeah, I'm not sure I could handle the swim.


KK: Now I know another thing you are [Sheep noise] working on is something called Our Shared Outdoors [Sheep noise]. Do you want to tell our listeners a little bit more about it? And the work that you do with it?

KP: Yeah, yeah. So I'm, Our Shared Outdoors is, well, it's now actually a registered charitable organisation, which is very exciting. But we set up in 2020, with a view to changing the narrative about who belongs in the outdoors, and who's seen as belonging in the outdoors. It started with just a few friends having conversations and reaching out to other people, mostly on Instagram, which is where everything happens, I think, and meeting new people who are interested to be involved in the work, too, erm, yeah.

KK: And so it was you who started Our Shared Outdoors, right? Why did you think it was important to get that ball rolling?

KP: So I think working in the industry for a long time, I noticed that quite often, I'm the only person of colour around and having conversations with friends not necessarily in working in the industry, but just recreationally it was seen. Like it's, it's mirrored across the whole of the outdoors, erm. So yeah, I wanted to change that erm and got a group together through various contacts who were passionate about the same thing.

KK: And what are the kinds of things that you do with Our Shared Outdoors? You mentioned [KP: Yeah], social media. And that is a big part of it.

KP: Yeah. Yeah, we've, erm, we've had a quiet, quiet year. At the moment, I think. We're all voluntary. So work has taken over for all of us a bit recently. But we've done some kind of informative, or educational Instagram posts around different issues that people have in the outdoors, whether it's around ethnicity, or fatphobia, or the LGBTQ plus community. And about why like inclusivity is important and how not talking about it is exclusive in itself. Erm, we've also done film events where we've run one, and we've got another planned for the autumn, which are focused on films about people from less well-represented backgrounds or underrepresented backgrounds in the outdoor space. And hopefully, for the next one, we'll get a filmmaker or somebody in to do a bit of a Q&A as well, as we have a website being built at the moment, which will have a list of funding opportunities erm that people can access, whether that's funding towards going on skills course going on a, like a trip, or funding towards doing outdoor qualifications and will also be on hand to help people write applications or, or look over things as well.

KK: That's amazing. And I think that sounds like you're covering so many of the basics, where, you know, it's getting more people into the outdoors, but at the same time, also getting more people into the industry who then deliver, yeah, we'll get even more people into the outdoors. It's like a domino effect, isn't it?

KP: Absolutely. Yeah. And it's something that I noticed a lot, 'cause I do some work, like, the professional association for mountaineering instructors is the association of mountaineering instructors. And I'm part of the, erm, we have an Equity and Diversity working group that I'm part of. And part of that is looking at how we can increase the diversity within mountaineering instructors. But we can't really do anything directly, because people need to have a certain amount of experience and some qualifications already. So for us to do anything, it needs to be at the grassroots level. So yeah, there's, it's like all kind of interlinked. [KK: Yeah, it is]. as well with the work.

KK: And you need to feel like you, the space is for you. [KP: Absolutely]. It is a space that you're, I don't like the word, but entitled to use [KP: Yes]. in, in [KP: yeah], inhabit, and be in [KP: yeah]

KP: Yeah, that's it. Yeah, I think it's just changing the sense of belonging, and, and of who, who belongs in those spaces? Or who's seen as belonging in those spaces? And actually, we should all be able to feel a sense of belonging in those spaces.

KK: Yeah, absolutely. Can you tell us a little bit more about the films that were selected at that event? And then can what kinds of films you're looking at?

KP: Yes, so we're looking at films that either like, follow or are based on somebody from an underrepresented background or are, like, filmed by or made by someone from this background. So the ones we, we had a Glasgow event in April, we had a couple of short ones. And then the kind of main features was Banana Skin by Jessie Leong, which is about being British, Chinese, and how, and climbing and China and in the UK. We had This Way Up, which is a film about and by I think, Andy McKenna. He's a mountain biker, and was diagnosed with MS. And how he's kind of continuing to mountain bike, and live his life. So yeah, that's a really good one, a really lovely film. And then, the final one was After The Storm, which was about Aneela McKenna, who's a mountain biker again, and she's of Pakistani heritage, and it was around how mountain biking kind of, is such a huge part of her life, and has been with her through times when she's experienced racism at work and, and that kind of thing. Another really, really great film. It's a really powerful watch as well.

KK: We'll put the titles to all of those in the show notes. And I'm definitely gonna watch them all and catch up on those. Yeah, because I've been to loads of those, you know, the Banff mountain Film Festival tours and the European outdoor film, I don't know the exact title, it'll be the outdoor film tour or something like that. [KP: Yeah]. And you know, they're fun. But it does always feel like the majority of the films. It's the same type of protagonist. [KP: Yeah]. The same, style of message, and you do often get the sense of like, Oh, he's just someone who does something outrageously dangerous, but it's captured on camera. And luckily, it all goes well.[KP: Yeah} So let's watch it.

KP: Yeah, I think, and that's the thing I found in myself, like, certainly in the earlier days of climbing, you know, I loved watching climbing films, but now, like, if it's just a climbing film, I'm a bit like, meh, it's probably going to be something like really hard that I'm never going to be able to do. And I think unless there's unless it's relatable to me in some way, or there's a bit of story, and it's about deeper than just the climbing, then I don't really bother watching them anymore. Because it's like, well, well, how is it any different from the last 20? [KK: Yeah, yeah] it's just someone climbing up a bit of rock. [KK: Yeah]

KK: And listening to those stories and seeing those stories and connecting with the individuals behind them. Even though they focus on the individual, they do actually open up to the community, and they are hopefully getting more people into the outdoors and into these outdoor sports.

KP: Yeah, yeah, I think that's it having the depths because even people who we see you know, your typical like the middle-aged white man who we see as like, the main person in the outdoors if you do have a story that goes more into their background. Like it becomes more relatable for everyone. [KK: hmm, yeah]. So yeah, we want to kind of focus on those stories that aren't often being shown in those mainstream tours. [KK: Yeah]. And that kind of thing. Yeah.

KK: And do you feel that maybe through the pandemic, or just maybe in general, in the last few years, do you feel there's, these, these things are changing in Scotland, and in the UK, as a whole?

KP: It does feel like there's, I'm not sure if things are changing yet. Because I think that's going to take a long time. But it does feel like there's a changing attitude, and that people are realising that there is an imbalance in to who's in the outdoors and that things do need to be changed. And it's not a case of, “oh, well, like, there's no sign saying you can't come here. So like, what can I do about it? If we can't force people to come?” It feels like, there's less of that attitude. Hopefully, erm. It's a bit hard because I think I surround myself with people that see this, from a similar viewpoint. as me. But yeah, it does feel like more people are aware of the issues. And yeah, I think so.

KK: When you think about the future, where what do you hope that Our Shared Outdoors will achieve?

KP: I'd like it to be a bit of a platform where people can see themselves represented, and find somebody they can relate to. So that hopefully down the line, everybody feels that they can be in the outdoors, or that they can see that somebody's, somebody like them is in the outdoors, so they can too. And yeah, not just recreationally, but ideally in the professional industry as well.

KK: And what are ways that individuals and professionals can support that work and get you there?

KP: Yeah, so there are lots of different ways. But a few are just being really supportive if you see people out, and about who maybe historically you haven't seen in the outdoors. And like just checking yourself before you make a comment about anything. If you feel inclined to think, "Would, I want to hear something like that?", erm and pulling up like your friends or people you're out with if someone else makes a comment that actually is maybe not that helpful. And using, if you yourself, have a platform using that to kind of lift people who are underrepresented in the outdoors, lift them up and platform them as well. And if you work in the outdoors, so something that I'm trying to do is, is work with more people from underrepresented backgrounds. And there's, you know, there's funding available, there are ways you can do this and community groups you can work with, to just introduce people and give them confidence and, and help upskill them or offer opportunities to people to shadow you if you're comfortable doing that and that kind of thing.

KK: You know, that's the kind of work that hopefully the more people do that, the more likely it is that those people will then have the skills and the confidence to seek the qualification.

KP: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It needs to be built from the bottom up. [KK: Yeah] is the thing really, erm. Like we can look at it as professionals in the industry and be like, Oh, well, what can we do from here, but unless we're looking at the grassroots and the community groups and, and how we can work with people there, then we're never going to see a change higher up. And the other thing, I think, is not to be discouraged that you're not seeing a change yet, because these things, you know, it's going to be years and years. Before we see it, people need to get experience. So it's going to take time.

KK: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I think that just shows how when you do some- something as an individual, yet, it can feel like, oh well, what difference is that going to make? But if many different people in organisations do that little thing? [KP: Yeah]. And have that network of ripples created, it will eventually start in many, many different places and grow bigger and bigger and become the norm and become something that everybody sees and is aware of.

KP; Yeah, [KK: Absolutely], definitely. Yeah. And working like, collaboratively is always good as well. As great fun. It's nice to work with other people and stuff too.

KK: And reflecting on your role in all of this, it's quite interesting. You know, you're a mountain leader, you're a mountaineering instructor. And I guess that kind of work is, of course, related to your day job, so to say. But it is different, right? You are probably much more active on social media with it. You're being asked to speak on podcasts at events. How does that feel for you? Does it feel like a departure of your job and something new and different?

KP: Yeah, yeah, it, does a little bit, it feels it's I've been doing quite a lot of these, this over the last like three or four years, or looking at how diversity and inclusivity can be increased in different organisations as well. So initially, I guess it felt like a bit of a sidestep. And I'm mixed race as well, and I'm a woman in the outdoors. So I am a minority. And it took a while, like, I've, I don't really consider myself as having faced many barriers have been very fortunate. But it took a while for me to realise that I still have a perspective on this as well. So yes, initially a bit of a sidestep and a bit of getting used to, but now it feels very much part of my work. I think that answers the question,[KK: it does] in a roundabout way.

KK: it feels like they go hand in hand. Because, the fact that you do what you do, you want other people to be able to do that to [KP: Exactly] regardless of their backgrounds, and regardless of their, their level of experience. Maybe at some point, you know, it's like everybody, they should be able to, everybody should be able to do this.

KP: Yeah,I think that's it [KK: if that's what they want]. Yeah. And I think like as a, as someone who works in the industry, like and anyone who works in the industry, in my mind, like the reason you do it is because, you're really passionate about being out doors, and you want to share that with other people. So why wouldn't you work at making it as accessible for everyone as possible?

KK: Yeah, absolutely. And it makes such a difference, you know, it's like the walk we did and that listeners have heard about in last week's story episode, if you haven't listened to it yet, do go back and do that. You know, it does make such a difference to go with a guide with a local guide, we didn't need you for a tricky scramble or to find the route or anything because it was a low-level walk on a nice path. But it is, it does add so much to hear the local stories to hear about your past experiences on the island. And in this part of the, of the area, you know, hearing about animals and plants and the history of the place and the different forts and all of these things, it adds so much to the experience to go out with someone else. [KP: Yeah]. And not just do it by yourself. And yeah, hopefully, there's a need for many, many, many more of you {Both Laugh]. Instructors and guides who take out people and enable those kinds of experiences and make those possible.

KP: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think as different people come through, people from underrepresented backgrounds come through, the through to the professional side of the industry is only going to make the industry better, because everyone's going to be bringing their own their own backgrounds and their own stories. And it's going to add something. So you know, everyone's not from the same background, and it's all the same stories.

KK: Yeah. Exactly. And it's like, I think the parrot story is a really good example of this, you know, it's not necessarily something you expect to hear about you are going to on a small island on the Scottish coast. [KP: Yeah]. And not everybody will know that story. And yeah, it's a silly example. But it's it does add so much context to the experience and, and provide a different lens on what we see and what we experience in the country as well. [KP: Absolutely]. If our listeners want to connect with you, or find out more about your work, or just see what you get up to up in the Scottish Mountains, where can they do that? And how can they find you?

KP: The best way is on Instagram, just at Kirsty Palace, all one word, and our shared outdoors yet also on Instagram, and Facebook. And again, just our shared outdoors.

KK: Yeah, and we'll keep an eye out for the website and any future events as well and put all those links in the show notes. To make it even easier for people to reach out and follow along and learn and see what you do and find out more about your work. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and taking us around on a tour on the Isle of Kerrera. And yeah, sharing your work and your passion with us.

KP: No problem. Thank you. It's been fun.

[Wild For Scotland jingle by Bruce Wallace - bouncy glockenspiel tune with electric bass beat behind]

FRAN: So there you go, that was an episode of Wild For Scotland. If you’d like to hear KAthi talk to more Scottish people, head over to Wild For Scotland now, you can search for it in whichever podcast app you are listening to this on. But there is of course a link to the show notes for you as well. And do listen to the immersive stories that I talked about as well, they are really nice for whisking you away and they are perfect for giving you a little bit of calm, as well as a little taste of Scotland in your everyday life. So if you listen to the episode ‘Traces’ that is the walk that me, Kathi and Kirsty did, so that is a great place to start. It is episode 1 of season 4 and if you like that, check out the other episodes as well.

Thank you for listening to ON The OUtside. I’m gonna ask you to do something for us and that is take a picture of you listening to the episode right now, wherever you are. It can be a selfie if you are happy to, or you can take a picture of what you are looking at as you are listening if you prefer. Share it on instagram for us and tag us, and also tag Wild For Scotland so Kathi can see it too, We’d love to see where you are listening to these episodes. Thank you very much to KAthi and Kirtsy for letting us share this conversation.

Wild For Scotland is created and produced by Kathi Kamleitner, and co-produced by me.

[MUSIC starts - ON THE OUTSIDE theme - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]

On The Outside is Produced, hosted and this episode was edited by me. Podcast artwork is by Sophie Nolan, music is Bassbeats by Alex Norton and On The OUtside is part of the Tremula Network, adventure and outdoor podcasts off the beaten track. If you’d like to find out more about what that means, and where the name ‘tremula’ came from, you can head to And we have some exciting things coming as a network soon too. But until then, or the next episode of ON The Outside, thank you for listening.

[MUSIC comes to an end with a couple of hand claps]


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