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E3 TRANSCRIPT: Afghanistan, gender disparity in mountains, and uptake in outdoors use

Updated: Feb 21

[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: Hello and welcome to On The Outside, the podcast that shares diverse views on outdoors news. We are recording this episode on Wednesday, 27th August and in today's show, we're talking about Afghanistan’s outdoor connections, gender disparity in mountain sports, and path erosion in National Parks

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FRAN: My name is Francesca Turauskis. I am the producer of On the Outside and your host. And on our panel today we have a voice you’ll recognise from last week, Ani.

ANI: Hi, My name is Ani Patas. Great to be back again. I am a chronically ill and disabled outdoor enthusiast, for those of you who don't know

FRAN: Beautiful. And two new panellists who I'll get to introduce themselves starting with Kirsty.

Kirsty: Hi, I'm Kirsty Pallas. I'm a mountaineering and climbing instructor, a founder of Our Shared Outdoors and also a mountain biker and roller skater.

FRAN: And for the first time, we have somebody phoning into the conversation very remotely. Vedangi is currently on a campsite somewhere in the UK. So Vedangi, if you'd like to introduce yourself.

VEDANGI: Hello, I'm the Vedangi Kulkarni and I am an endurance cyclist, adventure traveller and a business owner. I run a business called The Adventure Shed.

FRAN: So the connection might be a little bit rough with Vedangi. We will see what we can do here. But it's great to have you all on the show today, so thank you for being here. Now, we're gonna start off this show with a slightly new segment. So we're obviously getting to know some of our panellists. And I thought it would be nice to do a little bit of a check in and check out at the start of the show where we can check in with where the panellists are, and you can go and check out what they're doing. So just a quick rundown of some of the folks that aren't here. Oge’s been away in Yorkshire. She was attempting the Yorkshire Three Peaks at the weekend. Frit's on the Pennine Way. Eden was at We Out Here Festival. And Neil is currently organising an adaptive cycle race called the Duke's Weekender. We also have a finalist for the Newsweek future of travel awards. Soraya, who you heard last week has been nominated for that. And that was announced this week. And I'll let Vedangi and Kirsty just quickly talk about what they've been doing as well. So, Vedangi, what are you organising at the moment?

VEDANGI: So the next project I'm doing is I'm organising a downhill mountain bike race in an attempt to raise awareness, raise funds for spinal cord injury research and recovery causes. And it's happening on seventh of November at 417 Bike park. And one of the aims of this race is to also really push for an equal gender split in terms of participation.

FRAN: And Kirsty

KIRSTY: Yeah. So last week I qualified as a mountaineering and climbing instructor. So it's the highest summer award mountain based awards in the UK and it's been ongoing for probably the last four years. So yeah, quite pleased, I'm quite happy to have it done now.

FRAN: So we will be hearing more about Kirsty's award later on. But to begin with, Kirsty is going to introduce us to the first topic today. And that is what is happening in Afghanistan and how it is most definitely connected to the outdoors. Kirsty.

KIRSTY: So obviously I reckon most folk have been able to see what's been unfolding in Afghanistan from watching news channels. As well as what the news is covering there’s bit of a wider effect it's having in the outdoor communities. So Afghanistan, it's got quite a lot of outdoor activities that can happen now. The one I'm most aware of is climbing, and there's quite a lot of climbing, and there's a group that supports young women getting into climbing and kind of progressing them through to becoming athletes and achieving some Alpine expeditions and becoming independent climbers who have been really affected because it is it's women they work with.

FRAN: Yeah. So this was something that when you first brought it to me, Kirsty, there was, in all honesty, the reaction of I don't know if that's something that is relevant to the podcast. And then as soon as you sent me through the articles, I checked myself and went okay, yeah, I need to look into this more and the more research I did and the more articles I was reading, it's just something that definitely, definitely is relevant to the podcast and relevant to the outdoors in general, but that the UK outdoors as well. And you sent me an article from UKC. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about that one?

KIRSTY: Yeah. So UKC or UK climbing, it's like a central data base for for everyone. They're really good at keeping up to date on news that affects the climbing world. So they put together an article kind of around two main groups, community groups out there, one called Afghanistan. So that's the groups that support the young women into becoming independent climbers. And the other group it mentions is free to run, another organisation looking to help women and girls get into running in conflict areas of Afghanistan. So UKC kind of pulled together a wee bit of information about the two groups. And also how, us from the U.K or outside of Afghanistan can help support the girls and women in Afghanistan.

FRAN: And that's something which we will link in the show notes for you. So definitely, please go and check out that article, which gives you some really good resources. We will also put a few other things that we talk about down in the show notes, so please check them out afterwards. But as you say, Afghanistan is a country that is very outdoor sporty in general, the sport culture there was something which I just wasn't as aware of. I've read a couple of articles in the past about like you were saying how, one of the ones I read was about women's running and how that was something that was being used for empowerment and also for the general leadership and that kind of thing, like you say, and in terms of the other mountain sports, the mountain biking, hiking, parkour is really big over there. You've got BMX biking and cycling in general seems to be really big out there. Vedangi is that anything that you were aware of? Obviously you're in the cycling community to say the least. Is it something which you had on your radar as Afghanistan being a big place for cycling?

VEDANGI: I know someone called Shannon who helped set up and like a cycling club in Afghanistan for the women who were interested in cycling and wanted to get into the sport. She was a person who set up a women's club for cycling in Afghanistan. And she recently found out that obviously with the situation that's there they’re obviously facing a lot. She’s been to help with the evacuation process of the Afghan women in cycling and in sport in general

FRAN: And this is something which obviously there's a lot that could be said in terms of the politics of things from the UK and from the US, and I don't think that we have enough time to unpack that, and I'm certainly not an expert to go into it. But in terms of the responses from outdoor communities and outdoors groups that have been involved in Afghanistan, there really seems to be a, as always with these things, a big mix between people that are proper mobilising and groups are properly mobilising, and making sure that their people that they know in the country are doing well. And they're trying to get people out if they need to try and get people out and that kind of thing. And then you, I don't know what it's like on other people's timelines, but I have quite a few adventurers that are ex-Army, so there's obviously a really big connection with people that are ex-Army. A lot of them have served out in Afghanistan, so there's a lot of the personal experience and personal connection with the country on there that you're seeing on timelines as well. Shannon Galpin was someone who I literally came across because of this story. And she's definitely someone that has come up on my timeline a lot. This will be linked in the show notes, but I'm gonna give you a bit of an idea from the social media posts that Shannon puts up that brought me to her. And it is a picture that shows the mountains in Afghanistan, really beautiful kind of bare country in front of it, mountains that are covered in snow and a blue sky with clouds that are just idyllic. And you've got an Afghan cyclist in the middle of that. And the caption that Shannon's put here is "This is what Afghanistan looks like through the lens of the outdoors and adventure. This post could be Colorado, but it's Afghanistan. Men and women began mountain biking several years ago, and since then there's been mixed gender races and bike packing, this love of the outdoors, the spirit of adventure is rarely highlighted when we talk about Afghanistan." And it goes on to say a lot of things there, which I think was definitely definitely worth reading and definitely made me think about things because because I semi had it in the back of my mind that Afghanistan, I have heard about as this this great place for outdoor sports. And I think that one thing I've seen from quite a lot of the ex-Army folks is the fact that it was starting to head towards something that even you could even be considering it as a tourist destination for outdoor sports that is on everyone's radar. And whilst it shouldn't take a personal connection and a personal shared interest to highlight the humanity in these kind of stories I do think it’s something which Kirsty thank you for bringing it to the table, because, yeah, it just it just made me think it made me kind of like stop and check myself a little bit.

KIRSTY: I think it's just something that until we read in detail about it, we don't realise the effect, you know, climbing could have on a young woman's life, you know, just by the fact they've taken part in climbing and taken part in groups where maybe they're learned leadership skills, put some at a higher risk. You know, living here, you wouldn’t even think twice about; how it might affect the rest of your life or your family. Yeah, I think it's one of those that if you don't look into it, it's easy to go and do your outdoor activity and this ‘aw the news is a bit heavy. I just want a bit of headspace. I'm gonna go climbing or biking or whatever, but these are not luxuries that are afforded to everyone.

FRAN: Vedangi, Ani, anything to add there?

ANI: I think, if anything, this should be a reminder of how privileged we are in countries where we can freely access the outdoors. We do have lots of groups. One thing I found interesting about some of the groups that run, especially one of the biking groups is, that it's become a massive feminism movement, almost, the right to ride and all sorts of things for women in Afghanistan. You know, some of these groups have been nominated for peace prizes. They've really achieved a lot of things. So I guess looking into sort of their outdoor activities humanises these people a bit more and shows how much they do do in the circumstances that they are in. That's admirable.

FRAN: Yeah, that's a really nice point. It's a really nice point. Thank you, Kirsty, for bringing that one. Because it was it was one that I looked at and thought it's an important story, but is it appropriate to the podcast? And as soon as I started looking into it, it was Okay. Yes. I need to look into this much more. So Yeah. Thank you. The next story is going to be a little bit of a celebration about Kirsty's qualification and does relate a bit to what we were just talking about as well. But first, here is a little story about sponsorship.

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FRAN: So, Kirsty, we heard at the top of the show that you have your mountaineering qualification, and that's something which is a really big achievement for loads of different reasons. But one of the things you said to me was about some of the facts and statistics about the demographics that usually get the qualifications. So, yeah, would you like to tell us a bit more about that?

KIRSTY: Yeah, absolutely. The qualification I just got mountaineering, climbing instructor Award, has been an award for, I think, since about the sixties seventies. And in that time, we're now at a position where 10% of award holders are women. And then when you look into the next qualification up, the winter version, it drops to 6% women. There's a pretty major disparity in those figures. On International Women's Day, this year, I did the post for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. That's like our organisation, so you can become a member of the AMI. And it's their 30th anniversary this year. So I had a look as part of that post, looking back at to see how the percentage of women in the AMI has changed, and it hasn't in the last 30 years at all. Which was a pleasant surprise. Well an unpleasant surprise really. I’d hoped to see it risen, but actually, it stayed the same in the last 30 years. So although we are getting more numbers, higher numbers of women coming through, the numbers of men coming through our kind of rising proportionately to keep the overall numbers of women 10%.

FRAN: So one of the articles that you sent through to me was talking about how the awarding body for that, they recognised it. And they've started to put a few things in place to try and change that, haven't they?

KIRSTY: Yeah, so they've they started, I think it's five years ago now putting together like a mentorship scheme, which initially was women only to try and boost the numbers of women going through these awards. But I think there's a bit of pushback around that. So it became open for everyone. Which I think overall is a good thing. A mentorship scheme is important that everyone has access to it. So that did provide a bit of a push for some women coming through. And I think it's something they identified as maybe a barrier was a lack of role models for women because there’s less women who have the award who are like very visibly qualified. So having a mentorship scheme where your mentor is a woman is more inspiring for some people, and it really works. Other things they've done is they've set up a Facebook group called Women and Mountain Training, which is like a bit of a community group where you can ask questions that you might not be comfortable to ask in a group. And this year they put together a gender equality strategy. So they're looking at ways they can continue to kind of push more women through the awards. At Mountain training, they do the award I've just done. But they also do all the kind of lower level ones starting at your lowland leader, hill and moorland leader, mountain leader, rock climbing leader as well, and across all of these there is this disparity that becomes much more the higher up the awards you go.

FRAN: Mhm. So those things that were put into place, is that something that has helped?

KIRSTY: Yeah. So I didn't I didn't go through a mentorship scheme through this, but what did help was having a bit of a network of really supportive women that were already qualified or also trainees, that I’d either met kind of on online or knew of from social media. I actually met a load of them at women's TradFest a few weeks ago. It was, like two weekends before my assessment, and I just got such a wave of good luck. It was amazing. So that aspect of just having very visible role models has really helped.

FRAN: So for listeners - we have lost Vedangi. Her internet has obviously gone wherever she is in her camp site. But we still have Ani on the phone call. And I would really like to ask you, Ani, in terms of qualifications and stuff like that, is that something which surprises you, that there's such a disparity there? Or is it something that you would be interested in? Do you think?

ANI: It's going to sound really cynical, but to answer both questions, No. It doesn't shock me that there's such a disparity in the outdoor community in general with any kind of qualification roles. Don't get me wrong, I think there's plenty of female role models in the outdoors hiking community and outdoor mountaineering community, Kirsty being one of them, but not necessarily, I'd say I probably don't follow or know of very many females Mountain Leader instructors, if any actually other than Kirsty. So it doesn't really shock me. Not that it's a good thing, and it's definitely not an okay thing, but it doesn't shock me. I definitely wouldn't not be interested in doing a Mountain leader qualification, mainly because it's not a career I want to go into. I like keeping my work to work and my recreational to recreational, and I like to keep that separate. So yeah, I think I want to not do that kind of thing, but I would like to see more female instructors and mentors to be honest. I think I think a good thing I thought about this is when we were at the festival, which name eludes me because of brain fog.

FRAN: The Salomon Festival.

ANI: That’s the one. On the guided hike, the person at the back was a woman, and it's not necessarily It would have been more uncomfortable with a man. But the man sort of leading was; no, I definitely was just more comfortable with Maggie at the back. She was very, I don't know. It was just much more comfortable for me. I can't even explain why. So having that in a mountain leader instructor, that perhaps might take me out as a person rather than any other thing would be, I would like to have that experience with a female instructor.

FRAN: That word ‘comforting’ and comfort is something which I tried to use quite a lot. I think that it's something where; Kirsty, you and I spoke about this when we were doing the trailer recording. It's that comfort outdoors. I think people can take for granted and also that comfort with the people that are around you that people can take for granted. And I personally like to do quite a lot of things solo. I feel I feel quite comfortable doing things solo and when I'm with other people is when I become more uncomfortable. But like you say, depending on who is leading, if it's someone that is more like you, you are going to feel that affinity to them. You are going to feel a bit more comfortable around them. That's just human nature.

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FRAN: Yeah, we have lost Vedangi. I think she's having difficulties rejoining, but I would be remiss if I did not try and talk a little bit about what she was going to speak about. And this is going to be me coming from a very uneducated side and just kind of trying to share what she shared with me essentially. But like you were saying, Ani, it is something that across the outdoors, there is this disparity between, kind of like sex and genders and that kind of thing. And Vedangi said right at the top of the show, and I'm glad she did before she jumped out there, that she's working on a bike race at the moment and specifically trying to work on getting that gender balance into things like races. Vedangi did send us a link to the racing collective instagram page, and it was talking about the GBDURO and the fact that they had a massive push to try and get more women involved this year. And I think in 2020 the statistics here were that it was 27% women, 73% men, obviously at the moment statistics still not really including non binary as much unfortunately, and this year they had a massive push to try and even that out a bit, and it worked. And we've got 46% women that took part in this year's race. So that kind of like push for thing and, like Kirsty was saying, showing that there are people out there who are encouraging other women to come and do it and encouraging other people to get involved in things that they don't necessarily see themselves in at the moment, it really it really does help. Vedangi is working on this race for the spinal injury awareness and she's also working on a similar initiative to really push to get women to sign up for this race. Hopefully they will come back in before the end of the phone call before the end of the recording so that she can give that as your call to action. But if not, I'm gonna say to you now, just in case she doesn't show up again, that is V’s call to action today is to go and check out the race. We'll put the link in the show notes for you. And if you're a rider or you're not a rider and you want to give it a try, get in touch with her and see what you can do there. Ani or Kirsty, any final thoughts on that?

ANI: Sort of more an anecdotal evidence type thing, one thing that I noticed when I started going outdoors more and talking more about going outdoors for anybody that sort of doubts that that influence of having somebody that is of the same gender or race or religion or whatever you know, the anecdote is that my cousins have suddenly become enamoured with the idea of going outdoors to the point where, despite the fact that they are, you know, in their late twenties cannot swim, have decided to sign up to swim lessons. They went on a hike with me and they wore slip on flat shoes, got stung by nettles and got their feet shredded because they were wearing such bad shoes and still wanted to go once again. And this is something that is completely out their comfort zone. They’re city girls, they don't do that kind of thing at all. It's not something that they've experienced in the slightest, but simply by sharing the excitement and encouraging them to do the same and offering that platform of that ability to do it with them, they're now into that, and that's what I think female Mountain leaders will do. That's what initiatives like these will do. It will give a safe sort of space for women to try new stuff.

KIRSTY: Definitely. It's so awesome. Every time you hear that, I think

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FRAN: So our next story comes from Ani, and this has to do with the uptake in outdoor usage over the last couple of years.

ANI: So I saw this article about how there are some concerns about the amount of people going to Snowdon in Wales. And there was a whole host of things that they were concerned about, that the trails were being damaged. That mountain rescue happened to go out quite a lot because people were either ill prepared or were getting injured. Because perhaps that fitness level wasn't up to it or they wandered off the path or something. And then I saw, like, a couple of days later, a similar one about the Lake District. We've all seen accuse to at the summit of Mount Snowdon, very off putting, to say the least. And there's always been that mixed reaction of a lot of people are not too pleased that there's this many people crowding spaces and other people you know are pleased to see more people outside. But there is some damage from people perhaps not using the trails appropriately, sticking to the paths or doing their research and education beforehand. So a lot of the paths are getting damaged and a lot of the natural habitats getting damaged. And these things aren't easy to maintain. These are things that are, you know, imagine mowing the lawn on Mount Snowdon. I mean, they don't mow the lawn, but they're going to maintain paths, keep them clear. Make sure that people aren't going off into places where rocks are going to fall on their head or something. And also make sure that the wildlife, which will be thriving and growing there, isn't getting trodden on and destroyed and their homes ruined. So, yeah, I just wonder what everyone's thoughts were about this.

KIRSTY: Yeah, I think, we're seeing it here in Scotland as well. Not quite the same extent that I've seen photos of Snowdon. But there's definitely a lot more folk heading out into the hills up here as well. And I think it's a really hard one because a lot of the, or some of the kind of discussion I see, is from folk who have been doing this for a long time and feel like they have more right to be there than people who are trying it for the first time, which I really struggle with as an argument or a debate point. Because it really puts the onus of all this damage on folks that are trying something new and coming to the outdoors, which we should all be encouraging because it's amazing. When actually everybody who goes out there has pretty much the same impact on things like footpath erosion. Yeah, I think the BMC in Scotland, both of them over the last few years have had some big campaigns around Mend Our Mountains and raising hundreds of thousands, at least if not millions to look at restoring some of their footpaths and on the hills that are kind of getting hit the hardest.

ANI: I saw an interesting part of the article in The Guardian about Snowdon, where John Harold, the director of Snowdonia Society, essentially said that the reason this was happening was because Social Media was sharing all of these idyllic pictures and he kind of went into this thing of In order to respect something, you need to have some knowledge or relationship with it, and people are just seeing pictures and going ‘cool, I’ll have some of that’ to quote what he said, so therefore not respected because they don't have a supposed relationship with it. I've never climbed a mountain, but I know what I should and shouldn't be doing because I've been given that education. And I think it's a little unfair to blame people's photographs and photography, and sharing their experiences and then saying, ‘Oh, it brings all these social media fads’ or whatever he's trying to suggest by it. But I think you're right about everybody having their impact on the environment as well.

KIRSTY: Yeah, I totally agree. I think there's from within the outdoor community, there's folk who looked down on people who are just getting started or or, you know, even people who just want to go out and do a hill for a day but aren't likely to do it that often again. There's nothing wrong with that. You don't have to be like an outdoor enthusiast to be valid in the outdoors, but yeah, I think, I mean, this is coming from kind of my outdoor ed outdoor instructing background, but over the last, I don't know, 10 years or something, there's been quite a loss of outdoor education.

ANI: Yeah, I totally agree. I think we used to do, like the Green Cross Code and when I was a kid, you know, in primary school, I remember being given a booklet about not littering because a hedgehog gets his head stuck in the can. And, as you know, as a six year old, that's traumatising. And I think that's something I would like to see more of, perhaps making people aware that you can't necessarily go up. I mean, it seems like common sense to some people, but some people might not realise you can't go up Snowdon with sandals, or, you know that it does require a lot of strength because they just never done it before. So how would they know?

KIRSTY: Yeah, totally. And I think as well you know this because of the pandemic. You know, a lot of people have been limited to cities, so there's been a boom in folk wanting to get outside and outdoors, and maybe because they've not been there before. They haven't seen as much or know as much about how we do respect these environments, but it doesn't mean that they don't have space.

FRAN: I think there's a couple of things which I find really interesting with this. And one of them is like you were saying Kirsty, there's definitely differing amounts of patience between people in the outdoors for the new people to the community or people that are experiencing and using the outdoors in a different way. I've noticed that there is a little bit of tit for tat even within the outdoor community within different sports. I don't know if that's something you find being in different sports, but I think there's a definite slight contention between hikers and mountain bikers, in particular. The lake district article that we we read, there's an awful lot of the mountain bikes are destroying the trails, and that kind of thing And yeah, I think that's really I think that's really interesting and it's really something which I think that, there's a very much Us and Them mentality, not just between people that are new to the outdoors and people that are more at home in the outdoors, more comfortable, as we said before. But also between the, ‘well, this is my sport. And therefore I'm allowed to do this and use the outdoors in this way’. And other people using it in a different way, they're the ones that are in the wrong as well. I do think that's that's quite interesting.

KIRSTY: I think folks who have been in the outdoors for a long time struggle with maybe being told that their actions are having an impact as well. You know, maybe they've been doing outdoor activities, whatever it is, whatever their particular activity is for, you know, decades. And they really do respect the environment, which is great. But everyone is having an impact. And I think some people maybe find it hard to come to terms with that when it maybe feels like for years they haven't had an impact.

FRAN: I think one of the things you mentioned earlier on there, Kirsty was the Mend Our Mountains. And I think there's Fix Our Fells in the Lake District as well. And talking about the fact that the paths that people use, those aren't natural paths. Those are perhaps that have been created. They are maintained and therefore those are paths that take money in order to keep it working and keep it safe and keep people on a path that is very obviously a path, I think from when I've been out in the mountains, and sometimes the path is very clear and sometimes it's not as clear. You know, things like Snowdon are well maintained. The path is very good up Snowdon, and therefore you don't need a map and this kind of thing. And if we if I’m putting on my money head, as I seem to do in most episodes at the moment, if there was more investment, if there was more money for things like fix and mend the mountains, all of the paths would be good and clear, and people would find it much easier to stick to them. And you wouldn't be just going to Snowdon because Snowdon is the one that is easy to navigate. You could go to other mountains because they are all as well maintained. They all have the visitor's centre, they all have, you know, the car parks and that kind of thing.

KIRSTY: And I think again, that's a really interesting point, a contentious one again because some people will be very in the camp of, well, you know, the other mountains are more like more wild, and they need to stay that way. But the reality is folk of going to go up the hills and a lot of time. you know, if there's not a built path, there's a path that's been walked in any way and it's actually causing more damage because, you know, there's a boggy area in the front, goes really wide around it, and suddenly it's like three or four metres across. You know, the UK, we still have areas that are really wild that you can go to, especially up in Scotland. But I think we just need to be realistic and realise that things have changed.

ANI: Yeah, I think you can't live in a country with like 70 billion Starbucks and then say ‘Oh, no, we're not allowed footpaths’. I mean, that might be, like a bit of a hard thing to say, but we're not a wild country anymore. And let's just enjoy what we do have.

KIRSTY: Mm hmm. And look after it.

ANI: I think the only final point I wanted to bring up about this is a while ago I was looking at which mountain to climb as my first mountain. You Google all of these things and the same mountains come up over and over again on every article, including newspaper articles like the Guardian, all these plugs and stuff like that and surprising Snowdon was there a lot. So if anybody else is looking for easy mountains to climb and isn't, you know, doesn't know, like, I just know from other people that have done it that Snowdon is not an easy mountain to climb. These articles really do portray it as something that you could do. It's like something that everybody can achieve and stuff like that. So that, you know, I don't always think that the right education is always out there or fully explains the scenario that you might be engaging in unless you really look deep and people who don't know that they need to do that won't.

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FRAN: So those are the main topics for today, But in other news:

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Beavers are going to be reintroduced to rivers across England. The native animals were hunted to extinction in Britain in the 16th century for their glands and meat. United we climb is running a para climbing survey. They're hoping to hear from people with all kinds of disabilities neuro diversity, sensory impairments and more to find out how they can be supported best to do climbing. And there is a new dating app for single climbers. Boulder has profile pages that are climber focused; users must upload at least two photos of them climbing. And this is not an advert, but it did make me smile.

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So if you'd like to hear more about those stories, please do sign up to our newsletter. It currently goes out twice a month and includes the news stories that we could not fit into the show. We'd also like to hear your thoughts and views on the stories shared today you can email us at Now, on the outside is about starting conversations with a view to changing things that we think need changing in the outdoors community. So we always have our call to action at the end of episodes. Kirsty. What is your call to action?

KIRSTY: I would like folk to go and check out the UK climbing article on the Afghan groups or go straight to Afghanistan's Instagram page. They've got a few ways you can help them. But if you have any spare funds, then they’re looking for donations to help get some of their girls and their families out of Afghans.

FRAN: Ani. What is your call to action for today?

ANI: So just to add on to Kirsty’s call to action, if people would also have the funds to possibly donate to Untamed Borders, who are asking for funds to help their Afghan guides, who do a lot of ski tours and ski programmes, and also for supporting the evacuation and settlement of the women Afghan cyclists, who were the Nobel Peace Prize nominees that I mentioned earlier. But my actual call to action is if you know somebody who might be interested in joining the outside or if you could just in general share the website Adventure Smart, which details a lot of advice for newcomers about what they need to do when accessing outdoors. In fact, checking the weather, specific things about certain areas like Mount Snowdon. Maybe put it in your next post. If you're going up and sharing your adventure and your photo, maybe put it in your story, maybe just send it to a friend.

FRAN: Yeah, totally. And by the power of technology and editing Vedangi, what is your call to action?

VEDANGI (on pick-up): So I think that given the rise in women-led cycling communities all across the country, which are literally built for increasing your confidence on two wheels, and really being self-sufficient on your bike - I would really encourage for more women to join those communities, be a part of those inclusive communities where you can really up-level your skills. And, yeah, that would be my call-to-action for today and this episode.

FRAN: And my call-to-action for today is, if you like today's episode, please, can you give us a review? You can do that in Apple Podcasts, or you can send your review directly to us. It's great to hear your feedback. The full show notes for this episode, including links to the articles we spoke about, and the groups who were mentioned are all available on our website On The Outside artwork is by Sophie Nolan.

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Music is BassBeats by Alex Norton. On The Outside is produced by myself. Editing and transcript By Jack O’Driscoll. Social Media is by Frankie Dewar and our Patreon support crew are Wild for Scotland and Charlie's Supply Shop, and, of course, thank you all for listening.

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