We want to diversify the people we normally hear talking about the outdoors, celebrate their stories, shine a light on their insights, and create a place for discussion, inclusion and practical advice. Welcome to Finding Our Way, our new podcast to champion walkers, climbers and mountaineers from diverse backgrounds
Hosted by expedition leader and equity champion Cress Allwood, and the BMC’s hiking ambassador and broadcaster, Mary-Ann Ochota, each guest explains the highs, the lows and the most surprising things they’ve learned from their adventures.
We talk to the people who are passionate about walking climbing and mountaineering, but also who have more to say. What about climbing the North Face of the Eiger whilst also managing Crohn's disease as well? What about having your period as you summit an 8,000m peak? What about organising a hiking group but not using the word hiking in case you put people off?
In this first series of Finding Our Way. we explore mental health and expedition leaders, trad climbing, Everest base camp, waterproof trousers, wearing kilts, eating cake and Bob Marley...
Finding Our Way's guests are as diverse as the outdoors should be
Former Chair of the BMC Equity Steering Group and co-host of the podcast, Cress Allwood, puts it: “We need diverse role models – it’s the old saying that ‘you need to see it to be it’. So we’re giving voice to a broad array of walkers, climbers and mountaineers – not just professionals, but everyday, accessible people.”
And co-host and broadcaster Mary-Ann Ochota says: "Finding Our Way is all about interesting people who are passionate about hills, mountains and walls. We tackle issues around diversity and inclusion – how to make clubs more welcoming, for example, or ways to improve urban access to wild places, or travel ethically. But we also celebrate the straightforward passion our guests have for the outdoors. That’s inspiring, and it’s been an absolute joy to interview them. I can’t wait for series 2!"
What is Finding Our Way? Host Mary-Ann Ochota explains:
Meet our guests from Season 1:
Rehna Yaseen: Free kit, ‘BAME’ and inspiring young South Asians
Euan Ryan: Making films, climbing and hidden disabilities
Bonita Norris: Everest, ethics and disordered eating
Rob Mitchell: Cake, maps, and gay, bi- & trans lads outdoors
Cherelle Harding: Urban community, reggae and rolling down hills
Stu Skinner: Deserts, jungles and mental health training
Meet our guests from Season 2:
Leo Houlding and Ed Jackson: Quadriplegia, Alps & Ambition
Dwayne Fields: Young Adults, Nature Connection and Urban Adventure
Marie Uri & Yasmin Lazarus: United We Climb, Checking Privilege and Indoor Walls
Rich Chapman: Grief and healing through climbing
Anoushé Husain: Paraclimbing, Pain and the Possible
Steph Wetherell from Every Body Outdoors: Plus sizes and good kit
“Finding Our Way plays such an important role in bringing the big conversations to as broad an audience as possible. Expect good chat, memorable stories and bursts of inspiration.” - Andy Syme, BMC President
Finding Our Way is proudly supported by Berghaus
Finding Our Way is proudly sponsored by Berghaus, who are founder members of the It’s Great Out There Coalition, a Europe-wide partnership of brands, non-profits and community organisations helping more people discover the positive impact of outdoor sports. They’ve also got an impressive roster of diverse ambassadors, from elite athletes to community leaders. Janine Hearn, Global Head of Brand for Berghaus, sums it up:
“Berghaus kit has helped people from all backgrounds access and enjoy outdoor experiences and we want to share our love of getting outside with everyone, particularly those whose circumstances have so far made it tricky for them to explore nature. This podcast is all about engaging and relatable content and we’re delighted to be working with the BMC on it!”
Finding Our Way is hosted by BMC walking ambassador Mary-Ann Ochota and expedition leader and equity champion Cress Allwood. Our editor is Chris Stone. The artwork is by Neil Arch.
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🎧 Episode #1 Finding Our Way with Rehna Yaseen: Free kit, ‘BAME’ and inspiring young South Asians
In this one we talk to outdoor instructor and community mentor Rehna Yaseen about the importance of decent kit, being paid to do cool stuff, the problem with the term ‘BAME’ and why building relationships with the whole community matters. Rehna discovered a passion for outdoor activities in her teens and now helps other young people find their own passion for the ‘great outdoors’ as the leader of the Ashton Youth Club in Greater Manchester.
🎧 Episode #2 Finding Our Way with Euan Ryan: Making films, climbing and hidden disabilities
In this one we sit down with Glasgow-based photographer and filmmaker Euan Ryan to talk getting hit by rocks, why climbing is a strange sport full of brilliant people, mental health journeys, chronic illness, hidden disabilities and the taboo of ‘poo issues’. Euan has documented para-climbers on the Eiger, climbing with autism, and the mental healing that climbing can offer in his most recent film, ‘We Need to Talk About Kev’. He also suffers from Crohn's disease, a painful and sometimes debilitating inflammatory bowel condition.
🎧 Episode #3 Finding Our Way with Bonita Norris: Everest, ethics and disordered eating
In this one we head to the high mountains to discuss the Death Zone, climbing – and falling – on Everest, attempting K2, inspiring non-climbers, and the pressure and dangers of dropping weight to climb harder. Bonita Norris has summited three of the world's 8000m peaks and retains the record as the youngest British woman to climb both Everest and reach the North Pole. She's also written candidly about suffering from bulimia as a teenager.
🎧 Episode #4 Finding Our Way with Rob Mitchell: Cake, maps, and gay, bi- & trans lads outdoors
In this one we talk about how to make clubs more inclusive, the joy of maps, getting qualified as an outdoor leader and how a supportive community with common interests can build confidence, skills and a lifetime of outdoor connection. Rob Mitchell is a mountain leader for Outdoor Lads, a UK-wide community who run a range of sociable outdoor activities for gay, bi and trans guys.
🎧 Episode #5 Finding Our Way with Cherelle Harding: Urban community, reggae and rolling down hills
In this one we get some good views and good vibes with founder of outdoor network Steppers UK, Cherelle Harding. We hear how the music of Bob Marley brought her a new appreciation of nature, why outdoor upskilling is key to making change stick, and what needs to be done to improve nature connection in urban areas. Cherelle is the founder of Steppers UK, a community group based in the Midlands focused on encouraging more people from under-represented backgrounds into outdoor activities including walking.
🎧 Episode #6 Finding Our Way with Stu Skinner: Deserts, jungles and mental health training
In this one we explore the stigma of mental illness, what exactly Mental Health First Aid is, and the importance of expedition leaders who can support mental health as well as deal with broken legs and snake bites. Stu Skinner is an experienced expedition leader, mental health first aid provider and the founder of the charity Changing Horizons. He wants us to normalise conversations about mental health, break the taboo of suicide and is passionate about the mental health benefits of outdoor activity.
Have your say
It would be great if listeners could get in touch and help shape the journey of the show. What would you like to know, where would you like to hear about, who would you like to listen to? Tag us with any feedback using the hashtag #FindingOurWay or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Wild Horizons is our new BMC hillwalking podcast, hosted by Niall Grimes. With a new guests each week, we discuss the honey pots and the secret spots of Britain's wild places and uplands.
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