BAIML TEST TEAM INTERVIEW: Stuart Ritchie
International Mountain Leader Michelle Smith recently caught up with the newly appointed BAIML Montane Test Team Member Stuart Ritchie:
Born in Central Scotland, as a boy Stuart was never far from the mountains. However his passion to travel the world began when he joined the army and served for 16 years. Stuart now runs an outdoor adventure company running activities in Scotland, the rest of the UK and Internationally. He is actively involved in the delivery of youth awards and is a provider and course director for Mountain Training UK. For the past 3 years Stuart has been the Quality Assurance Officer for the delivery of outdoor courses in the north of the UK. On top of all this he is dad to 2 little explorers, Lewis and Millie, who share his passion for mountains and mud!
In between Stuart’s busy schedule, we took the opportunity to ask him some questions:
Q. What do you do for work now?
After a 16 year career in the Army, I now work full time in the outdoors for Outlook Adventures Scotland, conducting outdoor learning days, leading expeditions in the UK & overseas as well as residentials and Mountain Training Award courses. I also carry out freelance quality assurance visits on outdoor leadership courses.
Q. What sparked your interest in the outdoors?
My passion for the great outdoors started in the Scouts, my Leaders were very ‘outdoorsy’ and regularly took us mountaineering, canoeing, biking and caving. This passion then grew through taking part in military adventure training (AT).
Q. Have you always been an active person?
From school I didn’t think I would get a job in an office, but I didn’t realise just how ‘out of the office’ I would end up working!
I also enjoy climbing, mountain biking, running, canoeing and skiing.
Q. What do you love most about working in the outdoors?
Meeting new people, facilitating new learning experiences, seeing challenges & fears faced and witnessing achievement!
Q. When and why did you decide to become an International Mountain Leader?
After getting to the stage of being involved in a lot of UK outdoor work and expeditions it seemed like a logical progression to use my enjoyment and previous international experience to go through the IML scheme.
Q. What were the best and most challenging things about the scheme?
Travelling for fun and experience as well as meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and new ways of life. All in all, enjoyable & challenging!
Q. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about becoming an IML?
To get as much International experience as possible, both for your personal logbooks but also leading, assisting or volunteering on international jobs, both with UK and overseas companies. This broad background will help to set you up for the IML assessments and actually being an IML.
Q. If you had a day to go for a walk anywhere, where would it be?
The stunning and dramatic ridges of the Alps make any day an enjoyable challenge.
Q. What are your (leadership) plans for the future?
My Leadership plans for the future are to expand on the international leadership, more expeditions. And more countries!
Q. What is your favourite piece of Montane gear?
The Quattro Fusion Jacket as it is great warmth for weight ratio!