Recent graduate embarks on cross-Scotland challenge

3 mins read

Former Stirling student Ailsa Beck is on a journey across Scotland to promote the great outdoors.

Beck, an Environmental Geography graduate, and close friend Nellie Wilson are traversing Scotland as a part of their collective – Trails for Change.

Trials for Change has the shared goal of protecting Scotland’s nature, documenting adventure routes across Scotland and increasing accessibility to the outdoors.

The first project of Trails for Change is The Alba Cross. According to the pair, it is a ‘human-powered journey’ from Nellie’s hometown, Ullapool, to Ailsa’s hometown, Stonehaven. 

The six-week journey will consist of wild swimming, cycling, kayaking, walking and canoeing. Along the way, the pair will make stops at various places including John Muir Trust Sites, community-owned land, private ownership, and National Trust areas. 

Beck and Wilson will spend one or two days working on each site, joining in with current projects of rewilding and conservation. The visits will be documented in a series of short films, showcasing the positive work happening across Scotland. 

At the end of the journey, the pair aim to release a feature film that follows the ups and downs of their challenge. Beck said: “We aim to showcase the work currently going on across some of the country attempting to conserve, rewild and regenerate wildlife and nature.

“We are not necessarily beginning this journey with a specific agenda, or with expectations of the work that will be being done and how people feel about contentious issues. 

“More so we would like to encourage discussion around environmental issues that affect us all and inspire people to contact projects in their local area, as well inspiring people to get out and enjoy the outdoors no matter what the barriers, all whilst contributing a positive impact to their surroundings. 

“We also hope to promote diversity in the outdoors and aim to show that natural spaces are for all.” 

Their journey will focus on projects in the West Coast, Isle of Skye, Glen Affric, and the Cairngorms and will use social media to let people have their voices heard. In addition to the films, Beck and Wilson will produce a series of podcast episodes on their journey designed as a more ‘relaxed’ conversation along the way.

The duo aims to inspire in more ways than one. Beck said: “We also want to showcase women and queer people in adventure and add to the scene of girls doing cool things. 

“This will hopefully inspire other people to get involved in these sports.

The more we encourage people to get involved in nature– the more folk who can be inspired to protect these landscapes.”

Beck and Wilson’s journey started last week, but you can see their progress and find more information @thealbacross on Instagram and Facebook. 

Featured Image Credit: Trials for Change

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