It is a tremendous honour to have been elected as convener of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority and to lead our board at what is one of the most exciting times in our National Park’s history.

As someone who has loved visiting Loch Lomond and the Trossachs from early childhood – initially to camp, hike and fish with my dad and more recently to go mountain biking with my husband and walking the West Highland Way with my daughter – I care deeply about this very special place.

My interest in applying to become a National Park Authority board member started with my own background in weather and climate.

For almost 30 years (yes, I am feeling old) I have been involved in engaging a range of different audiences in these issues – firstly as a weather forecaster and scientist for the UK Met Office and BBC Scotland and now as a science education consultant developing learning and teaching resources around weather, climate, energy and sustainability.

During my first four years as a ministerial appointment to the board, I learned a huge amount by becoming more involved in the National Park’s work on climate change and net zero.

Another area where I have thoroughly enjoyed contributing is with our amazing youth committee.

Our young people’s views are informed, knowledgeable and, most importantly, challenging.

The board and our staff have gained a greater understanding of topics such as sustainable travel, nature restoration and visitor infrastructure investment because of ideas and contributions from our youth committee.

I will be doing everything in my power as convener to ensure we continue to support and embed youth voices across all that we do, while also striving to engage with other under-represented groups.

A major focus for me and my fellow board members will be on the continuing development of our new National Park Partnership Plan – our five-year management plan for the National Park, covering 2024 to 2029.

We don’t have all the answers right now but we’re excited to be working with all those who have an interest in the National Park to achieve a plan that brings multiple benefits to our communities, businesses, land managers, young people and visitors, as well as to our wonderful natural landscapes.

We will soon be publishing a draft of this plan and will be keen to hear from local residents and businesses with their views on the future of this special place.