I grew up in the stunning Cairngorm National Park (CNP) and currently live away from home during term time when studying at SRUC. With my mum working for the CNP authority and my dad a deer stalker, I have spent my whole life outdoors with a great passion for skiing. I have recently returned from the Italian Alpes where I was ski instructing for two weeks. This is my dream job and I am steadily going through the SASI ski instructor system. Hill walking (especially with my dog Eider), grouse beating (the grouse moors on the CNP are definitely the prettiest) and hacking through the Abernethy Forest with my pony are just a few more of my favourite outdoor activities.
I am a highly motivated individual that loves to have fun and socialise. There is a small Young Farmers club (Strathspey) which I am hoping to join once I graduate. I am a full member and licence holder under the British Association of Snowsports Instructors and a member of the Strathspey Farmers club, supporting and competing at the local agricultural show. Badenoch Riding Club is my local club where I also used to compete and train with my pony at equestrian sports.
The unique landscape which I am lucky enough to have right one my doorstep enables me to ski, hill walk, have dogs, ponies and exercise outdoors, what more could you want? I feel my childhood upbringing was more special because I was surrounded by family, friends and a close-knit community. This has changed slightly over the years and I now see more people moving to our area, that were living in densely populated areas before. This has broken the close-knit community down with many of the people now living here for example creating unneeded change within the community causing conflict with the original residents.
High fuel costs are something even with a smaller car cannot be avoided when living in rural areas. I need to travel a large distance daily (28 miles) just to go to my work and it takes me up to three hours to travel back to my university. I cannot use public transport as an option as I live three miles away from the nearest bus stop. This all puts added pressure on the youth in rural communities and a large threat of losing them to areas where they can live more affordably.
My employment consists of various part time jobs including ski instructing, fishery assistant and grouse beating. However, these are all season jobs and is another issue for young people who may be looking for full time employment in rural areas. Many rural areas will be like mine and only have seasonal work which will not offer full time work all year round.
To encourage the youth to stay within these communities there needs to be cheaper fuel costs and allow for easier and cheaper travelling on public transport to give them opportunities to go to work, clubs, social groups and events.
In her first vlog for the Rural Youth Project, Ellen talks about the challenges she has faced with transport growing up in the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland.
Ellen from Nethy Bridge in the beautiful Cairngorm National Park gives us an update on how her life as a rural youth. In her second vlog Ellen talks about the ...