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29 Nov 2023

Joining forces to Connect Outdoors

How do you encourage people who are new to the outdoors to experience and connect with wild places? This exciting new pilot project just might be the answer!

Connect Outdoors JMT X Tiso - Schiehallion2

Connect Outdoors is an educational hiking programme coordinated by Tiso, in partnership with the Trust and Mhor Outdoor. Our aim is to introduce people from under-represented communities to the outdoors through sustainable, educational, and empowering outdoor activity that inspires long-term and meaningful engagement with the outdoors. We want to encourage:

  • Discovering and connecting with outdoor adventure
  • Caring for and connecting with our wild places
  • Connecting with ourselves and others around us.

The Connect Outdoors pilot programme included six autumn hiking sessions with the Trust leading two of these. Engagement Officer, Amy Goodwin, and Engagement Manager for the Central region, Hannah Shaw, delivered a brilliant educational session along the John Muir Way on nature and conservation. During the day, participants learned how wildlife is interconnected through different habitats and food chains, how to use binoculars to spot the wildlife that could be found along the Way, and how to be responsible in the outdoors. It was also a chance to share who John Muir was and the history of the John Muir Way.

Connect Outdoors JMT X Tiso - John Muir Way

Our second session was at Schiehallion. Joined by Schiehallion Property Manager Tom Corke, the day was an opportunity for the participants to experience this challenging yet wonderful hike, bag their first Munro, and learn more about the land we look after.

One participant said: “I didn't realise how much I learned today until I started to tell my husband all I remembered and couldn't stop [talking] for an hour! I had an amazing time together today.”

Connect Outdoors JMT X Tiso - Schiehallion

The ten participants who joined us on this pilot programme were individuals from The Welcoming, a charity dedicated to delivering a social and cultural integration programme to the most marginalised and isolated asylum seekers in Edinburgh.

“We were thrilled with how well the pilot programme went, the participants all had an amazing time and all reported that they had learnt a lot about the outdoors with many saying they felt more confident spending time in the hills,” said Hannah Shaw.

We are excited to be a part of this new pilot programme and look forward to working with our partners to help pursue the vision for the programme: a Scotland where outdoor adventure is sustainable and inclusive for a healthier and more equal society.

Connect Outdoors JMT X Tiso - John Muir Way2

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