Instagram star named Ramblers Scotland president

RAMBLERS SCOTLAND has selected Zahrah Mahmood, star of Instagram account The Hillwalking Hijabi, as its new president.

“I have high hopes for my appointment and want to follow in the steps of my predecessors while putting my own stamp on the role,” she explained.

“I’m looking forward to the next three years.

“Some of the factors stopping ethnic minorities enjoying the outdoors are the same for a lot of people regardless of background; finances, access, time and other priorities.

“But another barrier is fear of putting yourself in a situation where you know you will stand out in a predominantly white space.

“That unfortunately has a lot to do with the lack of representation from outdoor companies and brands, and not seeing someone who looks like you being represented in a meaningful way.” 

Mahmood succeeds Arran-based international mountain leader Lucy Wallace, and follows in the footsteps of former presidents including the late conservationist Dick Balharry, countryside ranger Ben Dolphin, and broadcaster Cameron McNeish.

Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy added: “We have a lot to learn from Zahrah’s success in encouraging more people to feel confident and empowered to enjoy all the health and social benefits of adventures on foot.  

“Despite booming numbers of people walking in Scotland, and the success of our world-class access rights, participation in the outdoors remains unequal.

“For example, people in affluent areas are considerably more likely to walk than those in deprived parts of Scotland.

“Too many people still feel that walking is not for them, simply due to their background, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability or age.

“We look forward to working with our president Zahrah and others in the years to come to create an outdoors for all.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s outdoors pages.

Plus, don’t miss Guy Grieve’s column in the March issue of Scottish Field magazine.