Achieve everything you want? If I can, you can too!

By Morag Eagleson

Morag is a trainee on the Glenmore Lodge Outdoor Trainee Scheme (OTS). Her story and achievements are inspiring and motivational in themselves, however this journey is even more remarkable because Morag was born without hearing and had an implant at the young age of 2 years and 9 months.

In her own words, Morag tells us a bit more about the path she was on before joining the Glenmore Lodge team, what life has been like for her and how she is achieving her goals.

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In 2014 I graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Jewellery and Metal Design at the University of Dundee.   I then decided to make my teenage dream a reality by becoming a Ski Instructor and traveling independently around the world.

Two years (four successive winters) followed. I trained and successfully became a Level 2 Ski Instructor while in New Zealand and then worked a full season instructing in Australia and two seasons in Japan.  A truly unforgettable experience living, working and traveling abroad and, of course, making many friends from all over the world.

After skiing for four winters, I wanted to settle down in Scotland and luckily I found a job, living on-site and working with the Domestic team at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

My work schedule is amazing because I usually get afternoons off, which I spend outdoors biking, running, walking, climbing or paddling. There is a group of like-minded, young people living on-site, so it is always easy to find someone who is keen to join me in outdoor activities during our spare time.  I couldn’t ask for a better place to live and work and the same goes for the people I work with and see every day.  Other cool things about working at the Lodge include being around some of the UK’s top outdoor instructors; all the courses happening around the Lodge and occasionally a visit from a Mountain Rescue helicopter.

In September 2016, Glenmore Lodge introduced the Outdoor Trainee Scheme.  Now most of the Domestic staff at the Lodge are part of this scheme.  This means we are given days off to gain outdoor experience and to attend courses run by the Lodge, to learn and improve skills whilst working towards qualifications.  All courses, food and accommodation are provided as part of the scheme and in return we work an allocated number of days as part of the Domestic team.  There have been 8 of us on the scheme.

Before starting at the lodge I was not keen on paddle sports – because the idea of taking my implant off didn’t appeal. Luckily in November 2015 I was given a waterproof case designed for cochlear implants and this allows me to hear the sounds of water, people talking, and instructions whilst paddling. It is quite amazing to be able to hear it all and enjoy stress-free paddling!

As a result I have gained new skills in both kayaking and canoeing, achieving qualifications which mean I can paddle competently on flat water and will now be working towards Level 1 Coaching this Spring.

Yes, I still find hearing challenging when I’m climbing, paddling and hiking in the wind, or when visibility is poor. However it does not stop me doing these things.

It is now 7 ½ years since I finished school and amazingly, I’ve found my career pathway! I wouldn’t say that taking those years was a bad thing because I feel I have done everything I wanted to do and my experiences will shape my future.  There are still so many adventures to plan whilst I focus on gaining more outdoor qualifications in climbing, hill-walking and paddling.

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