Well-known blogger and mountain leader Lucy Wallace will become the first woman president of Ramblers Scotland, the walking charity announced today. Arran-based Lucy, 45, is a professional wildlife guide and outdoor instructor who holds the Winter, Summer and International Mountain Leader awards, and works with schools on DofE expeditions throughout Scotland.
She will succeed countryside ranger Ben Dolphin as Ramblers Scotland's honorary figurehead, following the organisation's AGM in North Berwick this weekend. As president Lucy follows in the footsteps of the late conservationist Dick Balharry, broadcaster Cameron McNeish and Dr Andrew Murray, who was the Scottish Government's first Physical Activity Champion.
Lucy hopes to use her presidency to encourage more people to appreciate Scotland's landscapes and world-class access rights - and to enjoy the health and social benefits of adventures on foot.
"It will be a huge honour to become Ramblers Scotland's first female president" she said, "and I hope to be the first of many. So many women enjoy Scotland's outdoors, yet there is a distinct lack of female voices in prominent positions.
"The number of people walking for fun is booming, and I want to use this role to encourage even more people to get outdoors and to build a stronger connection with the amazing natural environment we're so lucky to have on our doorsteps here in Scotland. I'm also looking forward to meeting our members and joining them in the hills!"
Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy was delighted to have Lucy on board but recognised the appointment of a female president was a "long overdue" step forward in the organisation's 35-year history.
He said: "We feel truly lucky to have Lucy on board. As a passionate advocate for the outdoors and a highly experienced mountain leader, she has introduced hundreds of people to the natural world, making her the ideal person to inspire even more people to enjoy our country on foot.
"Women have played a hugely influential role in the history of Scottish outdoor pursuits, from pioneers like Jane Inglis Clark and Nan Shepherd, to more modern heroes like Muriel Gray, Heather Morning and Hazel Strachan.
"While we are excited to welcome our first female president, we entirely recognise that this is a long overdue milestone, particularly as about two-thirds of Ramblers Scotland's members and more than half our volunteer walk leaders are female."
The voluntary position is elected on an annual basis, with presidents often serving for the maximum term of three years.
Lucy Wallace grew up in southern England and initially trained as an archaeologist. She moved to Scotland in 2005 with her outdoor instructor husband Wally. She has previously worked at an outdoor centre on Arran and as RSPB Scotland's information officer for the island before setting up her own wildlife guiding and mountain leading business.