Originally from a small croft within an island farming community, I relocated to the Highlands in 2012, where I volunteered for RSPB Scotland and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust for three years. During this time I helped establish the Scottish Crofting Federation’s Young Crofters Group and interned for nine months with the Scottish Wildlife Trust as the Marketing Coordinator of the Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape Project.
I began studying a BSc in Environmental Science with the University of the Highlands and Islands but left after my second year as it didn’t feel right for me. Since then I have become more interested and involved in the idea of integrated land management, leading me to my current role as Assistant Land Manager on Gordonbush Estate which I started in 2016 after being scouted on Twitter.
This year I was lucky enough to win the Lantra Scotland Land Based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year award and had a fantastic experience going through the process and hope that award can help develop my skills, knowledge further.
My job lets me see some wonderful parts of the Scottish Highlands. The space, the wildlife, the quiet atmosphere and the clean air is something I really appreciate. Rural life focuses on community and everyone looks out for each other. However, rural life can also bring with it very traditional views and I see this in the Highlands where breaking the perceived gender roles (being female in a “man’s world”) is often met with suspicion, rather than being seen as a positive.
Living in a remote area like the Highlands brings with it the challenges of affordable and regular public transport links. If you are unable to drive, commuting via public transport can be unreliable and very costly. This needs to be looked at going forward to allow people to live in rural communities without feeling disconnected.
There is a lack of opportunity for children and young people to get outdoors and learn from more “hands on” experience in primary’s and secondary’s. It would be great to see more workshops, lessons and trips teaching the younger generation about rural subjects such as forestry, farming and wildlife.