Walking group fronts diversity campaign

Loch Lomond Natyional Park map

A  Scottish hill walking group is fronting a new campaign celebrating diversity in the UK’s national parks, including Loch Lomond.

Glasgow-based Boots and Beards arranges walking trips for people from black and minority ethnic communities in and around the city.

More than 250 people have used the group, which has a “sister” organisation called Bonnie Boots.

Boots and Beards is involved in Our National Parks, a campaign involving the organisation UK National Parks.

The hill walking group was set up in 2016 and Bonnie Boots the following year.

Kash Butt, who co-founded Boots and Beards, said they were started with aim to “motivate” people to explore Scotland’s landscapes.

He said: “Our aim is to address and tackle some of the issues within our local community, such as but not limited to mental health, depression, stress, family issues.

“We also want people to not only explore the outdoors but to learn to appreciate its importance, how nature is important to life, how recycling can benefit your environment, using your natural surroundings to bring harmony to your life and especially for future generations.”

Javed Akhtar, a member of the group who is in his 60s, said the lifestyle of many people of his generation had prevented them from enjoying the outdoors.

He said: “They’re spending too much time working and not realising the importance of setting time aside for themselves.

“When you’re an immigrant you want to climb the ladder, you spend more hours on the job. The first generation that came to Scotland had to make a home for their children and had to work many hours.”

But he said attitudes were changing, adding: “The new generation is different – they’re better educated, more professional and work more traditional hours. This gives them more freedom to get outdoors.”

Boots and Beards said it was delighted to be fronting the Our National Parks campaign, which involves sportswear company Columbia.

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