Acclaimed Scottish climber Natalie Berry has been named as the Scottish Youth Ambassador for Mountain Culture 2016.
The 24-year-old, originally from Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, is only the second young person to win the award, which is presented jointly by Fort William Mountain Festival and Nevis Landscape Partnership.
Yesterday, she said: “I’m delighted to receive this award for mountain culture. I am fortunate to be able to work and volunteer within climbing, an activity from which I have personally gained so much over the years.”
Nat’s climbing success
Nat, who now lives in Edinburgh, started climbing at the age of eight and was asked to join the British Junior Climbing Team when she was 11. Over the subsequent years, she has had considerable competition success, winning eight British climbing championship titles and many European youth podium places, including a first place at the European Youth Series in Slovenia in 2007.
Since then she has proved herself as one of the nation’s best sport climbers.
Nat has also been involved in raising awareness of the charities, Urban Uprising and Climbers Against Cancer. Urban Uprising helps teenagers from deprived areas around the world to access educational programmes and explore the outdoors. CAC is a climbing community charity that aims to increase awareness and raise funds for more research to fight cancer.
Nat has also supported many young climbers through her work as a coach and mentor with Quickdraw Climbing Club and the British Junior Team.
Nat said: “It’s very rewarding to be in a position to be able to give something back to the climbing community. I had many local role models myself as a youngster, so I know the importance of sharing knowledge and supporting young climbers.”
Nat’s climbing highs
Last October, Nat completed one of the hardest traditional ascents in Scotland, Dalriada (graded E7) on The Cobbler in the Arrochar Alps. This achievement was particularly noteworthy given that she had no mountain, winter, alpine or traditional climbing experience before 2013.
Her progression from sport/indoor climbing has been documented by a film crew and Transition premiered at Kendal Mountain Festival in November.
World acclaimed climber Dave MacLeod, and a member of the Fort William Mountain Festival committee, said: “In my view, Natalie represents an exemplar in influencing other young people by showing it is possible to achieve high levels of personal sporting success at the same time as making many other types of contribution, through media, charity and club involvement related to her expertise.”
Natalie will join Zeki Basan, the inaugural Scottish Youth Ambassador for Mountain Culture (2015), in the Mountain Culture Hall of Fame when she is presented with her award on February 20 at the Fort William Mountain Festival
Thanks to Chris Prescott for the photos.