Are there any barriers to working in the outdoors?

Posted by Nicola Jasieniecka on 24/02/2014

A lower percentage of black, Asian and minority ethnic people undertake Mountain Training awards than represented in the population as a whole. One of them is Trish Boardman: find out her story.

How did you get into ‘the outdoors’? 
I started walking in the mountains with friends in my late teens. Through the years I've met lots of interesting people, travelled to lots of amazing places and tried lots of different outdoor sports; some of which I've taken to such as climbing and some I haven't such as kayaking. But you don't know until you try them!

Have you ever been involved in any other sports/activities?
I used to do a lot of road running and ran a few marathons. I also played field hockey at the same time but unfortunately the combination of these two sports has meant I've had to have two small knee surgeries. Luckily it hasn't affected my walking and climbing.

Do you work full time as an outdoor instructor?
No, I work part time with the aim of making it a full time job one day.

What else do you do for work?
I work full time as a textile designer, designing fabric for the African market. This means I go to West Africa quite a lot which I really enjoy. They also give me time off so I can lead month long expeditions to fantastic places like Kilimanjaro and North Peru. I have the best of both worlds at the moment. Whilst doing all this I'm also a member of Kinder Mountain Rescue.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while building your outdoor career?
I'd say it's getting the right balance between family and the mountains. I must admit the balance does tend to be weighted towards the mountains. I found the time I had to spend in the mountains for my ML, and on the rock for my SPA logbooks, not a problem as it's my hobby anyway. You do spend a lot of money on travelling, accommodation, training etc but if it's your hobby it's worth it.
 
Have you encountered any prejudice while developing your skills as a walker, climber or mountaineer?
The only prejudice I've encountered on the mountain is male walkers thinking because I'm female and looking at a map I'm lost and need help!

The majority of people in the UK who take part in hill walking climbing and mountaineering are white and middle class. Do you feel there are any barriers to more black, Asian and minority ethnic groups taking part?
No, I think the only barriers are the ones people put up for themselves. I think it's more of a cultural thing which I think the BMC are addressing well with their seminars.
 
In this increasingly digital age, are you optimistic about the future of the outdoors and its appeal to young people?
Yes I am, it's a lot easier for people to find local groups/clubs for walking climbing and mountaineering than it used to be when I was young and starting out. I found it very difficult to find a walking group to join before the internet was up and running. I did a lot of solo walking which was great for my route planning and navigational skills.

Do you have any goals for your future in the mountains?
To get out in the mountains more and do lots of multi pitch climbs this summer. I also would love to go to China and climb a new peak there.

When/where will your next adventure be?
I'm going ice climbing with my climbing club in Setastal, Norway.

What’s your favourite piece of kit you take climbing?
At the moment it's my 5:10 climbing shoes but ask me next week and it will be some other new shiny piece of gear.

This article is part of a series of articles celebrating Mountain Training’s 50th anniversary year in 2014.



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