Celebrating Argyll’s women and girls in sport

Experienced climber Kirsty Pallas is a volunteer with Oban Mountain Rescue and is just one of Argyll's many women and girls playing hard at sport.

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Live Argyll is shining a spotlight on women and girls in the area who are pushing themselves to top place in their sport.

In celebration of Women and Girls in Sport Week, Live Argyll’s Community Sports Hub officer Stacey Holloway spoke to just a few participants across the region – from professionals to podium placers, coaches to club committee members and amateur athletes – asking them to share their aspirations, realities and reveal what drives them to keep playing, coaching and taking part in personal challenges.

Iris MacMillan, a junior member of Loch Eck Orienteering Club has just been selected for the British Orienteering Talent squad (Tier 1) for 2020-2021

Experienced mountain climber Kirsty Pallas  has worked in outdoor pursuits since she was just 17 and is also a volunteer with Oban Mountain Rescue Team and for Our Shared Outdoors, a group dedicated to diversifying outdoor spaces.

To see what it means to Kirsty to be out in the hills and up on peaks, you can watch her in a film ‘Called to the Mountains’.

Librarian Carol Lawson from Lochgilphead has just conquered an Everest of her own – on a bike.

In memory of her father, North Argyll Cycle Club (NACC) member Carol took on a lockdown challenge to ‘Everest’ a hill near Barcaldine in September.

‘Everesting’ means cycling up the same hill until you have completed the height of Mt Everest – 29,029 feet. She cycled the same hill at Glen Salach for nearly 18 hours. NACC members came out to support her and she has raised thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Carol said: ‘I always feel that I am one of the least sporty people in the world, which is odd as I now spend most of my free time on my bike, but I came to it late from a background of inactivity, and I tend to think that if I can cycle for miles then anyone can. I love the freedom, the adrenaline, the friends, the escape, the adventure, the competition, the feeling when you collapse into bed at night totally exhausted, and especially the hills.’

Talking about her Everest challenge, she added: ‘It was a day I’ll always remember, from riding alone under the stars to the party atmosphere of the afternoon and the long, hard evening when each hill seemed to take 100 years.’

One up-and-coming sportswoman to watch is Iris MacMillan, a Junior member of Loch Eck Orienteering Club who, after attending a talent assessment camp for British orienteering in Edinburgh during the October holidays, has just heard she has been selected for the British Orienteering Talent squad (Tier 1) for 2020-2021 season, says Stacey.

Away from the classroom, depute head at Dunoon Grammar School, Kirsty Campbell is an aspiring marathon runner.

‘I plan to run a marathon in March, which I am excited about. I have always kept fit and enjoy cycling, ran a few 5ks, but I was speaking to a teaching assistant in the school who runs and he encouraged me to start again. I ran 18 miles on Sunday and feel great, but a bit tired! Running gets me outdoors and I enjoy the headspace to think and relax.’

To read more go to liveargyll.co.uk/women-in-sport-week-2020-athletes-in-argyll-bute