Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant

The grant that gives people the opportunity to seek out life-changing experiences in wild places

2021 applications update: applications are welcome from individuals seeking funding towards activity in 2021, please see below for additional Covid-19 criteria.

The John Muir Trust offers this Grant to give people the opportunity to seek out life-changing experiences in wild places of the world in ways which will benefit both the person, and the wild places themselves. The grant commemorates two former Presidents of the Scottish Mountaineering Club who each led inspiring and adventurous lives. We wish to support projects, which reflect the ethos of both men and give others an opportunity to follow in their footsteps. In the decade since its inception the Grant has made over 40 awards to a wide variety of recipients.

A grant of £200 - £2,000 will be made on merit to a person who wishes to experience wild places in the spirit of Des Rubens and Bill Wallace. The project should involve travel to wild places, must be adventurous, have an educational or scientific component – and be a life-changing experience leading to a commitment to practical action to conserve wild places.

    Bill Wallace - cropped

    Who was Bill Wallace?

    Bill was a stalwart of the John Muir Trust who played an important role in the development of the organisation. He was adventurous, inspired others and made a huge personal contribution towards increasing awareness of the need to safeguard wild places both in Scotland and overseas. A quiet man who never blew his own trumpet, he spoke eloquently through his deeds.

    Des Rubens

    Who was Des Rubens?

    Des had a distinguished career in outdoor education over 30 years. Based on his own early experiences of the coasts and mountains of Scotland, he was a passionate believer in the value of bringing young people into the hills, and making opportunities for involvement in the outdoors available to people from all levels of society and from a wide spectrum of abilities - a man who led by example.

Who can apply?

  • People of all ages, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • UK applicants with a Scottish interest/link.
  • People who, like Des and Bill, can show self-motivation, determination and commitment to achieve.
  • People who demonstrate charitable aims (educational/scientific/community development).

The Grant committee will favour independent self-led experiences over commercial expeditions, or pre-paid/charity/fundraising tours, and give priority to individuals whose financial need is greatest. Grant recipients will be required to provide a short project report.

Additional Covid-19 criteria for 2021 applicants: the panel will give preference to activity that respects Covid-19 restrictions and can take place in a safe manner. Adventures in wild places in the UK, preferably near to where a person lives, will be viewed more favourably than activity requiring long distance travel.

The Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant FAQ and Application form

How to apply

Download and read the FAQ, fill in the application form and then return your application by email to Rosie Simpson.

Closing date for applications is 15 January each year.

If you wish to discuss your application you can also contact Dick Allen, Chair, 01539 821 540.