We are delighted to announce that Leona Dölger and Polly Urquhart are our two successful Into The Mountain Trainees. They will be participating in our Into The Mountain Traineeship delivered in partnership with Mountaineering Scotland.
Leona and Polly will receive a package of training and support to mark out a practical route to overcome some of the barriers they have experienced in accessing Scotland’s mountain landscapes. Included in the programme is membership of Mountaineering Scotland, a series of free places on Mountaineering Scotland navigation and mountain skills courses, financial support and quality mountain days with Simone Kenyon, lead artist on Into The Mountain, to count towards a Summer Mountain Leader qualification.
This exciting opportunity is born out of our commitment to support more women to access the hills and work within the outdoor industries; both Polly and Leona have demonstrated a commitment to both developing their skills and supporting others to get into the mountains. With over 50 applications, there was a clear demand and interest from women of all ages in opportunities such as this to support their access to Scotland’s mountain landscapes.
Here we share some words from Leona and Polly on their hopes and plans for the Traineeships and where they hope it will take them in the future.
“Mountains are healing. To be able to plan a route, find your way, lead yourself to the edge and back to safety requires a trust in your own instincts and capabilities. I’d like to lead therapeutic hill walks for survivors of sexual violence, navigating challenges, nature connection and self-confidence in the mountains.
Through this traineeship I hope to gain new skills and surety in the skills I already have, so I can confidently plan, lead and teach others. And I hope to pick up some good tips for new places to explore along the way!”
“What a female body or person with a disability is capable of, or what they are not capable of, are notions that I challenge in my everyday life and especially when hiking. Living in a female body with impairments often means that I am confronted with my surrounding’s ideas of my body’s limitations which I experience mostly as restrictive. Through hiking I found a way to question these understandings, to find my own limits and to build up an own concept of my body.
I am aiming to share these experiences that I have made with other people to give them the opportunity to find a way to build up a new relationship with their unique bodies by finding their own limits in contact with nature. The Into The Mountain traineeship seemed to meet my interests in this way and I hope that doing this traineeship I will build up the essential knowledge needed to give me the confidence to guide other people when hiking. I also hope that bringing other people in contact with nature will set up the fundament for a mindful interaction with our environment.”