2022-23 IDS: First Month at Glenmore Lodge

By Glenmore Lodge

At the beginning of April, our 2022 IDS (Instructor Development Scheme) team began their year at Glenmore Lodge. The first four weeks of their time here were spent being trained to do all the essential jobs they do over the year to keep the Lodge running, and since then they’ve been getting stuck into the real work.

We asked them a few questions about what drew them to Glenmore Lodge and how things have gone since they got here.


Mountain Biking training at Laggan Wolftrax



Why did you apply for the Instructor Development Scheme?

I applied for the scheme when I heard about it from previous IDS/nightwatch. I wanted a career change and to work in the outdoors doing something I am passionate about and what better place to do it than here! I had seen they were taking on applications and I took a stab in the dark, I applied and here I am

What’s your favourite memory you’ve made since arriving at the Lodge?

I have a few favourite memories so far:

  • Mountain biking at Laggan Wolftrax
  • Going up Sgor Gaoithe on my birthday and eating Colin the caterpillar cake out of a jar at the top
  • Getting out for Top Quality Mountain Days with the other IDS
  • Slackling at Loch Morlich
  • Going climbing with Stu McAleese at Creag Dubh was pretty awesome as well



Do you have any particular goals in mind for your time here?

In terms of professional goals, I would like to become a mountain leader, develop my skills and confidence over the year for further mountain qualifications in the future like MCI. I am working towards my Level 2 Mountain Bike Instructor course and on some Velotech courses as well. Also if I got my Winter Mountain Leader Training whilst being here I would be super happy

Personal goals include wanting to bag as many Munros as I can, climb as many Scottish classics as I can, start pushing my climbing grade, get back into mountain biking and start riding some more. I’m also excited for winter and to start getting into the winter side of mountaineering and climbing


There was lots to learn in the first four weeks!



Have you always loved being in the outdoors?

Surprisingly, no! Growing up I was lucky enough to be involved in a very outdoorsy family who went through a change of careers in their later life to become outdoor instructors whilst I was going through high school. I was subsequently dragged up the hills and along rivers without much consent and I remember having plans to go see friends or attend parties on weekends where I wound up spending 9 hours in the rain on Buachaille Etive Mor, which just wasn’t my idea of fun at all. I was determined to do something different to my family, but after moving to Edinburgh to do Psychology, I quickly realised that definitely wasn’t it for me! I spent a year volunteering with Project Trust in Guyana, where I taught geography and science. The complete immersion in that place and the mindset of the people that lived there had a real impact on me; they would always refer to their country as the land of the free and it sure felt like that, after countless adventures and adopting this mindset for myself I found what being ‘outside’ meant for me. Fast-forward and now I’ve been up the Buachaille almost 15 times taking in different routes come sun, wind or rain and always remember that day and think it’s funny how things pan out.



What is it like living at the Lodge?

Living at the lodge is amazing, what other place can you have full access to a climbing wall for rainy day sessions, a pool to practice and perfect your kayak roll, on site bike skills trails, the Cairngorm mountain range! And all whilst living together with a team of like-minded folks who are all pushing in the same direction, keen to share knowledge and get out to experience themselves too. Above and beyond all of this you are settled in the knowledge that if anything does go wrong you’ve got a world class team of instructors not just to help you also to review any misadventures. Every one of the staff is really friendly and interested in what you’re doing and the atmosphere is relaxed

What are you hoping to get our of your time at Glenmore Lodge?

I am hoping to make long lasting connections with my fellow team of trainee instructors by way of adventure and learning in the outdoors. To pack in as many climbing trips in the cairngorms as possible, with bivvying at the foot of Shelterstone crag being high up on that list! I want to climb all the sea stacks in the North-West. I want to inspire and share my knowledge with those getting into climbing as well as be inspired and gain knowledge from the paddlers here too. I want to do a self-managed canoeing expedition taking my climbing gear along and doing Fionn Buttress at Carnmore crag. I want to get down rivers my bottom half still dry. I want be able to ride jumps and rock gardens on my hardtail without my feet getting blasted of the pedals. There are too many things to list really and I feel like if you seek out adventure, go out and have as much fun as you possibly can and just remember to log all of it on your evening shift, then the qualies will do themselves!




Has your first month gone how you expected it to?

The first month was tiring in a good way, just because we were learning a lot about the Lodge and what our work was. We were introduced to most of the staff which was really good! I did find it hard to remember everyone’s names though.

Why do you want to work in the outdoors?

I want to work in the outdoors because I want to take people out on adventures like the ones I’ve experienced and share my knowledge with them! I think its really important that people have access to the outdoors and are able to have an understanding of how to look after themselves in it and to be environmentally responsible. I hope that I’ll be able to pass that on to people!

What’s your favourite thing you’ve done since moving here?

My favourite thing that I’ve done so far would be going to Cummingston to climb, its such a beautiful venue. I hope I’ll be going back soon! I also enjoyed when we all went up Ben Macdui, which was our first outing as a group and really nice to do


Some navigation practice!



Why did you apply for the Instructor Development Scheme?

I applied for the IDS as it is a great opportunity to develop myself within the outdoors

When did you decide you wanted to work in the outdoors?

I decided that I wanted to work in the outdoors when I was 17 during a trip to Snowdonia. It seemed like a much more enjoyable kind of work. I want to help people be able to access the outdoors in a way that is safe for them and sustainable for the environment.

Is working at Glenmore Lodge going how you expected it to?

I did not really know what to expect when I started, but I’m enjoying it and I am really looking forward to whatever the rest of the year brings!




Why did you decide to come to Glenmore Lodge?

I applied to Glenmore Lodge’s IDS so I could grow my mountaineering and paddling experience and push my career towards working in the outdoor industry. I wanted to connect with and learn from people who have successfully done this already.

What has surprised you in your first month here?

I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse range of jobs we undertake as IDS, from reception duties to facility tasks. I feel like I’m not only going to learn a lot about instructing but also day-to-day handyman skills!

What is your favourite thing to do in the outdoors?

I couldn’t possible choose a favourite adventure sport, as they all bring me plenty of good memories and I am constantly learning about new areas. Regardless of what outdoor activity, I love experiencing the outdoors with other people whether that be through photography or instructing.




What’s it like being part of the IDS team?

To all of a sudden be both living and working alongside five strangers could appear daunting. But with similar interests and passions, overlapping and yet different skillsets, we have bonded and gelled very well as a team. We’re learning so much from each other given our variety of outdoor pursuits backgrounds – and that is something I’m really valuing, being one of two non-climbers in the group!

How are you finding working at Glenmore Lodge?

The first month of IDS was intense! The 4-week induction process meant long days, lots of information to take in, and countless names to learn (I’m not sure how well that went!). However, as of the start of May w were released into the IDS year proper where we now have the opportunity to go on courses of our choosing and have adventures of our own, while working several shifts a week to aid the smooth operation of Glenmore Lodge. I hit the ground running in the first week of May with a Learn to Lead Climb course. There was a lot to learn, but it was a very valuable five days and has left me with much more knowledge and interest in climbing than I ever imagined I would be

What is your favourite season to enjoy the outdoors in?

I feel the need to say spring – in particular the month of May. New life is all around, the days have lengthened significantly and are almost at their longest, and generally the weather isn’t too bad! However I’m open to that changing – as I’m now living in very different surroundings to those I’ve been in before



The Instructor Development Scheme supports motivated individuals by providing opportunities to undertake National Governing Body (NGB) awards, gain experience of decision-making, and coaching and leadership to develop their careers in the outdoors. To find out more about this year’s IDS and what the scheme is about, head to this page here.