Common Ground: Joshua Adeyemi

In our new series, we aim to find out what makes our fellow outdoor enthusiasts tick.

Joshua Adeyemi is the man behind the hugely popular talesbyjosh instagram account, through which he shares videos of his adventures in Scotland’s mountains. Josh describes himself first and foremost as a human. He was Ramblers Scotland’s ‘Walking Champion’ in 2023, and is a co-founder of Black Scottish Adventurers, a community-interest company that aims to: introduce more ethnic minorities to the Scottish outdoors, help benefit their physical and mental wellbeing, and educate people about how their daily activities impact their environment and, ultimately, the climate at large. Joshua is also a committee member of Black Alliance Scotland, which aims to further integrate the black community of Scotland into wider society, and a board member of Paths for All.

Can you begin by telling us a bit about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, as one of six children. Despite residing in one of the poorest neighborhoods, the strong sense of community where I lived made my childhood incredibly joyful and memorable.

My parents, both printers, worked long hours, leaving me and my siblings to spend most of our time after school at my grandmother’s. I cherish memories of playing outside at her house every chance I got.

How did you first get started in the outdoors? Can you remember your first trip?

Having moved to Scotland over a decade ago, I came across an article that discussed the Land Reform Act, which made me aware of my freedom to roam responsibly in Scotland even as an immigrant. Myself and my friends were living in the centre of Edinburgh and the closest place that caught my attention was Arthur’s Seat. It was my first time at such elevation and I believe that getting to see the beautiful city of Edinburgh from such height, in the company of my friends, kick-started my love for the Great Scottish Outdoors.

Can you describe your ideal day out or outdoors adventure in Scotland?

I love Glencoe so much, perhaps because of the high concentration of Munros. I love the landscape and the beautiful display of layers. My ideal day out will be on a Munro with at least two summits, a ridge, a nice scramble which ends with breathtaking views.

What does getting outdoors mean to you? Is it about challenging yourself, finding out about the world, getting closer to nature, something to enjoy socially, or just a great way to escape the everyday?

There was a lack of green spaces where I grew up, even though it was in Nigeria, West Africa. Arriving in Scotland and getting the opportunity to responsibly roam freely provided me deep connection with nature, a sense of adventure and a community. It’s a place where I feel completely free without any social pressure. From going for an evening stroll in my local park or paddleboarding in my local blue spaces to enjoying exhilarating adventures on Munros in the Scottish Highlands, the great outdoors is my happy place.

Have your outdoors’ experiences changed you in any way, perhaps affecting other areas of your life?

My outdoor experiences have added so much value to my life. I’ve become more environmentally friendly, it has impacted my relationship with my loved ones in a positive way. It has given me a sense of adventure and afforded me a community. I’ve become a more beautiful person physically and mentally, all thanks to my connection with the great outdoors.

If there was one thing you could change about Scotland’s outdoors – whether that be in something in the environment itself, or in the culture around walking and mountains, what would it be?

I’d say it’s education, awareness and access. If we keep trying to educate members of the public about their access rights and how to roam responsibly, it will help foster a culture of connection with and care of the great outdoors. Speaking as someone who has supported over 2000 people in connecting with nature in recent years, I can wholeheartedly say that most people are unaware of the beauty of the great Scottish Outdoors. Access to these beautiful places is an issue that needs to be addressed. Progress is being made, however, there’s a lot more to be done.

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You should always carry a backup means of navigation and not rely on a single phone, app or map. Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is every walker's responsibility to check it and to navigate safely.