2023-24 IDS: First Month at Glenmore Lodge

By Glenmore Lodge

Last month we were joined by Naomi, Graeme, Bethany, and Cameron who have begun the year-long Instructor Development Scheme (IDS). We’ve asked them a few questions about how their first four weeks at Glenmore Lodge have gone, and about what they’re looking to get out of the year ahead.

Learn more about the IDS and meet the current team HERE.


How has your first month been? Has it gone how you expected it to?

The first month at the Lodge has flown by, I am having the best time EVER… I have to pinch myself every morning to make sure I’m not dreaming. I also have to set a very loud and annoying alarm at the other side of the room, otherwise I would be too tired to get up because of how busy we’ve been! We counted that we’ve been busy doing courses about 24 days out of the month, and every day you wake up excited to learn something new.

It is way more than what I had expected if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t think I was capable of learning as much and as quickly as I have been. It’s totally down to the competence of the Instructors and the other IDS, they’re insanely good at what they do and have so much passion for their disciplines.

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

I have always loved being in the outdoors and getting people into the outdoors that have maybe not had the confidence or skills to do it themselves, but I’d never really thought about it as a career. I was always successful at dragging everyone into coming surfing or on big hill days regardless of their experience or confidence, and none of them ever seemed to complain… or not too much anyway haha!

I also used to do a lot of Duke of Edinburgh and John Muir Awards with my pupils in various schools, and I could see how amazing the opportunity was for them. I really wanted to get as many of them into those awards as I could, particularly those who found school challenging as it became a more suitable and powerful learning environment.

In August 2022, I moved home to Fort William after being granted a secondment from teaching. I reached out to a friend to see if I could do some shadowing at the outdoor centre they worked at, and they sent me the application to the IDS and said they thought it would be an amazing opportunity. After researching it a bit more, I submitted my application! The questions in it made me think long and hard about what I actually wanted to achieve over the IDS year, and it really helped me confirm that I have a genuine passion for making the outdoors a welcoming and accessible place for everyone, and that I could made this into a long term career!

Do you have any particular goals in mind for your time at Glenmore Lodge?

I am going to upskill myself in a variety of disciplines: biking, climbing, kayaking (sea & white water), paddleboarding, and biathlon up until December. I’m going to try and get some awards; I’ll be working towards the Mountain Leader, Mountain Bike Leader Level 2, and Paddlesports Touring Leader. I’m also so excited for winter and have lots of plans… but I’m going to try focus on the above in the meantime!


Why did you apply for the Instructor Development Scheme?

I applied for the Instructor Development Scheme to gain experience working in an outdoor centre, whilst also up-skilling in a diverse range of outdoor activities such as climbing and kayaking. Having already gained relevant qualifications in mountain biking, an ambition of mine was to enhance my future career prospects in the outdoor industry by also achieving NGB Awards in other disciplines.

What’s it like living at Glenmore Lodge?

Living at Glenmore Lodge is great! We have fantastic access to the hills whilst also living and working in an amazing environment. Its great having a mountain bike trail ending 10 metres from your house!

What is your favourite way to enjoy the outdoors?

My favourite way to enjoy the outdoors is by mountain bike. Two wheels is a great way to access the hills and forests and is great fun too!


Why did you decide to come to Glenmore Lodge?

I came to Glenmore Lodge for a training course a few years ago and I was really impressed – the instruction was great and it couldn’t be in a better setting. When I heard about the Instructor Development Scheme, it was a no-brainer! The calibre of the Instructors that pass through the Lodge is top notch, so I though there couldn’t be a better place to be based for a year and to try to learn as much as possible.

What are you hoping to get out of your time here?

I’m at the Lodge to try to learn as much as possible – upskilling is my top priority! I’ve spent lots of my own time on the hills and paddling but not a great deal of climbing in the past, so I’m going to learn to trad climb. I’m also looking to develop as a leader and learn from the really experienced Instructors who are at the top of their game. Most of all, I’m looking to gain a footing in the Scottish outdoor industry

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

It’s pretty intense! We get to do a lot of fun days together but we also work together in the evenings to help run the Lodge, so we have to look out for one another. We help cover each other’s shifts, be mock students for each other, and make sure everyone gets fed after a hard day on the hill, so working as a team and looking after each other really is important. I couldn’t ask for better teammates, they’re a wonderful bunch of weirdos!


Have you always enjoyed the outdoors?

Yes! My parents ran an activity business when I was little and I loved doing everything I could outdoors with my friends, and in the Scouts

What is your favourite thing you’ve done so far at Glenmore Lodge?

Kayaking on the Garry with Graeme and George! It’s always so good for the soul. I also loved learning to ride my bike a bit better at Glen Livet!

What are you looking forward to about the year ahead?

So much! But especially sea kayaking and big climbing adventures