In August this year families from the group Boots and Beards took part in a nature fun day at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond. Here Saira, one of the leaders of the group tells us about their visit.

About Boots & Beards
Boots & Beards was formed in 2016. The group began predominantly for male members of the Glasgow community to come together, explore the hills and improve their physical and mental health.

Due to its continued growth the group now provide activities to cater for women, children, and families. Weekly bootcamps and badminton sessions are on offer alongside scheduled hillwalks across Scotland. Boot & Beards are also the first BAME organisation in Scotland to be a licensed partner of the highly respected Duke of Edinburgh awards.

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The visit
RSPB reserves are great places to get away from it all, get closer to nature and enjoy spending time together as a family.

We would like to thank RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond for working with Boots & Beards to deliver a fun interactive session to families from the black and minority ethnic community (BAME), Sunday 1 August 2021.

Boots & Beards are an outdoor hillwalking group who encourage everyone to explore the natural outdoors and equip them with the necessary tools to make their adventures successful. They especially focus on people of colour (BAME) community members and aim to tackle some of the social, educational, cultural barriers that may prevent such communities from being out in nature. By joining the fortnightly guided hillwalks you and your family get a chance to enjoy the Scottish hills and trails in a fun social way.

Boots & Beards were invited by RSPB Scotland to come and explore one of their many nature reserves. On a beautiful summers day Boots & Beards arrived at the RSPB Loch Lomond Nature Reserve based in West Dunbartonshire.

The Boots & Beards group of 35 members which included 20 children and their parents were greeted by the RSPB Scotland team. After a brief introduction to the RSPB and what they have to offer at their nature reserves the families were split into groups of 10-12 and the were taken on a guided walk through the woods.

Welcome area at RSPB Loch Lomond with families arriving

The children took part in 3 fun interactive activities - pond creature exploring, scavenger and mini-beast hunting. They learnt about various insects, plant life and got over their fears of spiders and mini-beasties. To end the day the families had a social picnic at the reserve.

Young girl looking into tray with pond creatures

Feedback from participants
“I loved learning about all the insects and catching some as well”

“I didn’t know so many little creepy crawlies lived in the pond, wriggle wriggle”

“Trying to catch little insects in my net was hard, but I did catch a caterpillar! Then I put it back so it could turn into a butterfly”

“I want to come again”

“It was lovely to see the children so excited and engaged in all the activities. The RSPB team did an amazing job putting everything together and sharing their knowledge even I learnt something new by this visit.”
Zara Parent.

After the success of the initial visit Boots & Beards will be holding another follow up session on Sunday 19th September 2021 at the RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond Nature Reserve to book a space visit or

Note – RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards 2021
Boots & Beards have been shortlisted as one of the finalists for the Health & Wellbeing Award.

Photos by Boots and Beards