Exclusive Interview with Fiona Russell
We recently caught up with outdoor journalist and blogger, Fiona Russell aka FionaOutdoors. She is currently in training for the half-ironman triathlon and was selected for the GB Age Triathlon team in 2013.
When did your passion for the outdoor adventure begin?
I can’t recall. It’s always been this way. I can’t even credit my childhood because I am the only one in my family who really loves the great outdoors. I have always enjoyed sport, especially cycling, running, walking, skiing and snowboarding, triathlon etc.
My passion was further boosted when I started as launch editor of a Saturday lifestyle magazine on the Herald, Scotland’s national broadsheet. I insisted we included outdoors and fitness platforms, among many others, and it proved really popular among readers.
When I left the Herald some 10 years ago I continued to write about the outdoors, health and fitness for a range of different publications. About that time I become known as FionaOutdoors and I launched my blog and the rest, as they say, is history.
My passion for the outdoors grows rather than wanes.
You love adventuring in Scotland, so where is your favourite spot?
There are too many for me to suggest one favourite. I love the Munros, Scotland’s 282 mountains with a summit of more than 3,000ft, and I’d say the South Glen Shiel ridge was one of my best ever Munro walks. Seven Munros in one day and in stunning weather.
The Bealach na Bà mountain pass near Applecross in the north-west of Scotland is a favourite bike route, as is the Bealach Mor Sportive. I also love cycling the Outer Hebrides, especially alongside the white sandy beaches of the west coast of Harris.
For a stunning walk and wild camp, Knoydart is hard to beat. The walk to beautiful Sandwood Bay in the North-west of Scotland is also the stuff of fabulous memories.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I don’t think I have a hero or heroine who has inspired me. I am inspired by all kinds of things, including the adventures of other people that I read about, my own health and fitness and my enjoyment of spending time outdoors with my partner and friends.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always take a map and compass with you (that’s the obvious part!) – and know how to use them (so many people carry a map and compass but can’t use them).
Share with us the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced:
Qualifying for the World Age Group Triathlon Championships two years ago – and competing in London with team GB. This was also one of my proudest outdoors moments.
How do you relax?
Name one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without when outdoors?
Super insulated down mittens. I have Raynaud’s Syndrome so my hands become cold and numb very easily. Over the years I have tried and tested many different gloves. So far, the only one that truly work are Berghaus Ulvetanna Hydrodown Mitts. See my review.
What are your plans for the upcoming months?
I have around 100 Munros of the 282 total left to walk so I’d like to bag more of these. The scary Skye Cuillin Munros are on my list for this summer.
I am also training for a half-ironman triathlon so I need to put in some miles of swimming, road cycling and running. I’d also like to get over to the Scottish islands for a few more outdoors adventures.