Ramblers Scotland has launched a new award scheme to offer young adults a free and inspiring introduction to the outdoors.
From today, anyone aged 18 to 26 can apply for the first Out There Award events – based near Edinburgh and Glasgow, starting from early June. Four further events will follow later this summer and autumn, at locations including Aberdeen and Tayside.
As well as learning about basic navigation, hill safety and route planning, participants will get a chance to attempt a led group walk, including on well-known hills such as Ben Lomond, Tinto Hill and The Cairnwell.
Ramblers Scotland director Jess Dolan said: “We’re excited to launch the Out There Award to help break down the barriers that stop more young people from enjoying the benefits of Scotland’s amazing outdoors.
“Research shows that too often young people lack walking partners and knowledge of where to walk, so I hope that many will grasp this free and fun opportunity to learn new skills, sample local hills and meet like-minded people.”
The Scottish Government’s Active Scotland division has helped fund the Out There Award, which will consist of three training days, focusing on either walking, volunteering or outdoor skills.
The Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick said: “The Scottish Government is delighted to support this award scheme, which will provide young adults with new skills and the confidence to make the most of the great outdoor spaces we have on our doorstep in Scotland.
“Being active outdoors is not only valuable for physical health, it also contributes to an improved sense of wellbeing, and I hope all the participants enjoy this experience.”
Everyone who completes all three elements will earn an Out There Award certificate, a neck buff and one year of Ramblers membership, worth up to £35.85.
A total of 120 participants are expected to take part – of whom at least half will be women.
Participants will be introduced to Ramblers Scotland’s five Young Walkers groups, so they can continue to build their confidence outdoors in future.
The award is part of the walking charity’s Out There campaign, which is helping many more people enjoy the benefits of Scotland’s landscapes and world-class access rights. To apply for places, go to