Today I was giving talks to two primary schools, so of course I cycled to both. 

It’s the first day of Sustrans Big Pedal, a national competition where pupils, walk, cycle, scoot or wheelchair to school, with lots of prizes up for grabs for the most journeys made by active travel.  My task was to inspire pupils to take part and of course, as always, I use my stories of adventure, to inspire children to never give up, that it’s the taking part that counts and to always do their best.  I love opening up possibilities about active travel, local adventures and the great outdoors!

The first school was Borestone Primary, which is a stones throw away from where I went to high school.  It was strange cycling past a housing estate where my school had once stood.  In the afternoon I visited Bridge of Allan Primary.

I was talking in assembly to the full school and the gasp and wows and open- mouthed wonder on the children’s faces, with full unequivocal attention blew me away. 

Speaking in schools is such a positive experience for me … planting seeds with potential to flourish in years to come.

I’m getting many requests for public speaking, which is amazing.  I remember years ago, there would have been no way I’d ever have talked in front of an audience!  But when I was cycling the world, I wanted to help street dogs, so I gave talks to local groups along the way, normally with a translator lol Speaking in the UK is a breeze in comparison!  I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever be a public speaker!  That’s a really random turn of events in my life and a testimony to me of how far I’ve come in life from my earlier years when I was in the gutter. There have been many things that I haven’t done or avoided, over these last months when I’m not feeling great, but I always do my public speaking because I love it so much and it’s always such a hugely positive experience.

Ishbel xxx