GLASGOW’S “Hillwalking Hijabi” has been named the new president of walking charity Ramblers Scotland.

Zahrah Mahmood, who is called the Hillwalking Hijabi on Instagram, is a 31-year-old chartered accountant who has been praised for championing diversity in the outdoors and climbing hills while proudly wearing hijab head covering.

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Mahmood hopes to use her high-profile honorary role with the charity to encourage better representation in the walking community.

She said: “I feel honoured to be appointed to the role of president. I have high hopes for my appointment and want to follow in the steps of my predecessors while putting my own stamp on the role. I’m looking forward to the next three years.

The National:

“Most will agree that hillwalking brings physical and mental health benefits. But I’ve also managed to enhance my spiritual health through the outdoors.

“Some of the factors stopping ethnic minorities enjoying the outdoors are the same for a lot of people regardless of background; finances, access, time and other priorities. But another barrier is fear of putting yourself in a situation where you know you will stand out in a predominantly white space.

"That unfortunately has a lot to do with the lack of representation from outdoor companies and brands, and not seeing someone who looks like you being represented in a meaningful way.”

The National: Zahrah Mahmood and her son climbing togetherZahrah Mahmood and her son climbing together (Image: Zahrah Mahmood)

Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy welcomed Mahmood to the position.

He said: “We have a lot to learn from Zahrah’s success in encouraging more people to feel confident and empowered to enjoy all the health and social benefits of adventures on foot. 

“Despite booming numbers of people walking in Scotland, and the success of our world-class access rights, participation in the outdoors remains unequal. For example, people in affluent areas are considerably more likely to walk than those in deprived parts of Scotland."

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This year, the Scottish outdoors community is celebrating 20 years of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 – one of the stand-out achievements of the devolution era.

At a recent Holyrood event marking the anniversary, Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said: “Scotland’s landscapes are world famous – so too is our right to responsibly access them. Going forward, we must prioritise action to address the barriers and challenges that some still face in accessing the outdoors. No-one should be prevented from benefiting because of their circumstances.”