Founder of black Scottish hiking team slams ‘racist’ white ramblers who ‘assume his group litters’

Founder of black Scottish hiking team slams ‘racist’ white ramblers who ‘tell him to turn his Bluetooth speakers off and assume his group will leave litter’

  • The founder of a group for black hikers said they are unfairly complained about
  • Enoch Adeyemi said his group, of up to 60, are targeted because they ‘stick out’
  • He said Black Scottish Adventurers play music while they hike but don’t litter

A Scottish accountant insists he and his hiking friends never break the rules but are branded litterbugs and reported to rangers by other walkers because they are black.

Enoch Adeyemi is co-founder of Black Scottish Adventurers and often ventures out to The Trossachs National Park with groups of up to 60 walkers.

The father-of-two is passionate about getting black people to get into hiking, but says the Scottish outdoors is ‘very white’ and that they ‘stick out’ when they go exploring.

He claims that some white people ‘assumed this is their space’ and get ‘really p***ed off’ when they spot black walkers.

The keen hiker says that every group hike is plagued by incidents where white ramblers make ‘condescending’ comments, asking them not to leave litter behind and to turn their music off.

The Nigerian-born hiker also slammed park rangers, claiming they ‘perpetuate the cycle of ignorance’ by taking such complaints seriously and confronting them about it.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said their rangers have the same approach for all individuals and groups, regardless of ethnicity or background.

But added that they ‘strive to make the National Park a place that is accessible and welcoming to all’ and take Mr Adeyemi’s complaints ‘very seriously’.

Enoch Adeyemi, from Edinburgh, Scotland, says that some white hikers treat his group differently based on race

Enoch Adeyemi, from Edinburgh, Scotland, says that some white hikers treat his group differently based on race

The accountant claims he and his hiking pals from Black Scottish Adventurers are branded litterbugs and ordered to turn off music blasting from their speakers by other walkers

The accountant claims he and his hiking pals from Black Scottish Adventurers are branded litterbugs and ordered to turn off music blasting from their speakers by other walkers

Mr Adeyemi says that the Scottish outdoors is 'very white' and that they 'stick out' when they go exploring

Mr Adeyemi says that the Scottish outdoors is ‘very white’ and that they ‘stick out’ when they go exploring

Mr Adeyemi , from Edinburgh, Scotland said: ‘My post on LinkedIn is about the negative side of going out in the mountains.

‘When we go hiking we don’t see other black people hiking. Hiking is seen as a white people thing – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

‘White people generally hike, black people generally don’t, it is what it is.

‘White folks are so used to going out and only seeing other white folks, so I think it was a shock to the system when we started going out hiking in groups.

‘So some of these people will go and complain to the rangers. The next thing, rangers come up to us and say ‘we’ve received complaints that your group is making noise and littering the floor’.

‘We’re not breaking any rules but because we’re exploring the mountains our way, I think it’s a shock to the system for most folks.’

The group of up to 60 hikers ramble around Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park (pictured)

The group of up to 60 hikers ramble around Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park (pictured)

Recently the group went up Pentland Hills with about 60 colleagues from across Black Professionals Scotland corporate partners and they were able to raise over £2,000 for charities including Parkinson’s UK.

Mr Adeyemi says his group enjoy playing music while on their treks, which he admits isn’t the case for most hikers.

He said: ‘For most folks, hiking is about going up quietly and coming down quietly.

‘For us, we’re playing music all the way, to the point where you don’t feel like you’re going up the mountain.

‘Folks have confidently stopped and told us to turn our music off. I think ‘why should I turn off my music?’

‘Just because white Scottish people enjoy nature one way, that doesn’t mean black people have to enjoy it exactly the same way.

‘It’s their condescending tone that they use to speak to us, telling us not to litter and only to leave our footprints.

‘Recently I went out with a mostly white hiking group, we experienced none of it.

‘There were 60 of us, but nobody came to us to tell us to only leave footprints or give any condescending comments.

‘I thought ‘that was interesting, we went on a hike with no drama’. We were in a big group and played music, but had none of the issues we usually get.’

The father-of-two believes he and his group are unfairly reported to rangers because of their race

The father-of-two believes he and his group are unfairly reported to rangers because of their race

The environmentally conscious father, who always carries a plastic bag to collect their rubbish in, believes that the incidents are racially motivated with hikers assuming that black people will litter.

Mr Adeyemi said: ‘I think it’s down to the colour of our skin. It’s not that we’re a big group, it’s that we’re black.

‘People see us and think ‘they’re going to be dropping litter’.

‘I don’t know why that is. There might be this mentality that a bunch of black people coming together means they are going to cause trouble.

‘There are multiple incidents on every hike, whether it’s getting aggro or grief, it’s non-stop.

‘We would just be out by the lake and have rangers show up saying ‘we’ve had complaints about noise’.

‘I don’t think the rangers are used to seeing people like us come to enjoy the outdoors and that’s part of the problem.

‘We find that 99% of the time, the rangers will come back and apologise. I just think, don’t tell me sorry, when you got that complaint you should have shut it down.

In addition, he believes there may also be cultural differences at play – saying that Africans tend to be more ‘animated’ and speak louder.

After sharing a post on LinkedIn about his experience hiking in Scotland, Mr Adeyemi received lots of support

After sharing a post on LinkedIn about his experience hiking in Scotland, Mr Adeyemi received lots of support

Mr Adeyemi shared his experiences on LinkedIn, to call out what the group have faced.

He said: ‘I spoke up about this because you hear a lot of people say that Scotland isn’t racist. I’m there thinking ‘I think you’re high, mate’.

‘I’m not saying Scotland’s racist, but there are racist people in Scotland. I want to get that point across to people.

‘I want people to understand what they can do to be anti-racist. When people complain or do things that are intolerant, others should speak up.

‘If there’s anything you can do when you hear racist comments, you should say ‘it’s discriminatory, it’s racist’.

‘These incidents haven’t put me off hiking. It’s made me realise that society has a long way to go.’

LinkedIn commenters came to Mr Adeyemi’s support and offered their sympathy.

One wrote: ‘I read this and I am just sad. Sad because a similarly simple activity of going into the open space and enjoying the ‘wild’, you are once again reminded you don’t belong here. It is tiring.’

Another commented: ‘This is bulls**t. But sadly the reality for many. Every.. Single. Day. Keep doing what you do and let’s keep sharing stories to show it for what it is.’

A fellow supporter wrote: ‘Really sad to read this and this clearly highlights we have a long way to go in Scotland to eradicate the bigots.

‘Stay strong and continue to enjoy the lovely parts of Scotland, I respect your resilience in handling the situations you have unfortunately encountered.’

Simon Jones, Director of Environment and Visitor Services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: ‘We strive to make the National Park a place that is accessible and welcoming to all and the fact that a group who regularly visit the Park feel they have been treated differently by other visitors because of their race, is something that we take very seriously.

‘We condemn racism in any form and I have reached out personally to Black Scottish Adventurers to find out more about their experience.

‘Our Rangers engage with hundreds of visitors every week, of all ages and backgrounds, welcoming them and offering advice on how to enjoy their visit safely and responsibly.

‘If they receive reports regarding issues such as litter, that same approach of engaging positively with visitors and offering them advice is adopted. It is the same approach for all individuals and groups, regardless of ethnicity or background.

‘We know there are barriers to groups from minority backgrounds accessing the outdoors.

‘As part of our work to address those barriers, Zain Sehgal, co-founder of Boots & Beards – a charity helping Glasgow’s Asian and other minority ethnic populations discover the outdoors – has joined our Board and is advising us on improving access for less represented groups.’

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