Staycation with 7IM’s Camilla Ritchie: Scottish castles, planting trees and croquet

7IM senior investment manager's family holiday of driving to Scotland, exploring the countryside and wild swimming for the bravest

In this special summer series, members of the responsible investment industry share their staycations and sustainable holiday activities with ESG Clarity readers.

Following our popular Working from Home with… and A Sustainable Xmas with… series off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to find out how holiday plans have changed – and become more environmentally and socially friendly – in a year where travel abroad looks challenging.

Here, Camilla Ritchie, senior investment manager at 7IM, shares her holiday in Scotland.

Where are you holidaying this year and with whom? How will you travel there? 

We booked a holiday in Scotland with the family in July. We drove there in our car, which is a hybrid petrol/electric vehicle

How does this differ from your ‘usual’ holidays? 

Our last proper family holiday was in Spain. It involved lots of playing tennis and swimming. We didn’t have a pool in Scotland but some of the family took advantage of the river that ran through the property and did some wild swimming. I wasn’t tempted as it looked absolutely freezing! And we played a lot of croquet, which may not be quite so active a sport as tennis but was certainly just as competitive.

It has been a very tough year. How will this holiday help you reset and refresh? 

It was really great to see all the family. We have seen so very little of them over the past year and just the opportunity to spend some time together and really talk about things that telephone and Zoom calls just don’t reach was fantastic.

How will you ensure your holiday is environmentally friendly? 

We drove up to Scotland rather than flying, which saved quite a lot of carbon emissions, and when we got to where we were staying we were able to look at the tree we planted there last time, which has been helping to absorb some more carbon. We recycled as much as we could and when we left we paid for another couple of trees to be planted.

Share some (sustainable) activities you have planned for your staycation? 

We stayed in a house that belongs to an educational charity and which is mainly used by Scottish universities for away weekend studies and so on. With Scottish universities not being able to do things like that at the moment we had the surrounding grounds to ourselves to go walking and appreciate the beauty of nature. We also visited Edzell and Glamis castles, which was very exciting for my granddaughter who is very into the whole princesses and castles scene.

What’s your holiday reading? 

Normally on holiday my go-to is something from Persephone Books, which publishes neglected fiction and non-fiction mainly written by women. This time I read Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey, which I would thoroughly recommend. Set in the 1930s, it paints a sardonic view of British society and was described as “astonishingly good” by Virginia Woolf.

​I also read Minnie’s Room by Mollie Panter-Downes; a British woman who wrote for The New Yorker for nearly 50 years from her Surrey home. This was a selection of post-Second World War stories about how British society was changing but how difficult it was for some people to cope with those changes – something that resonates today. 

What’s the verdict? Do you think you will be staycationing more in the future? Or are you looking forward to travelling abroad?

I love holidaying in the UK because we have some of the most beautiful countryside in the world and great food, but exploring a new country is something that I will want to do again – Covid-19 permitting.

How do you think the Covid-19 pandemic will impact business travel long term?

We are focusing on cutting down carbon emissions so our people at 7IM are being gently – at least at first – encouraged to take the train rather than the plane if they are travelling within the UK when we, hopefully, get back to normal. There will be a lot of businesses that look at how well everyone has coped getting business done working from home and decide that travel budgets can be trimmed.

What’s on your radar for the ESG investment industry for the rest of the year? 

The main event this year is going to be COP26 in Glasgow (or virtually around the World if we get another Covid wave) in November. It’s so important the countries represented at COP26 (Conference of the Parties) commit to setting higher targets for lowering their carbon emissions, especially after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which squarely points the finger at human activities being the cause of melting icecaps and freak weather events. Other than that we have been focusing on stewardship and our submission to the PRI as a lot of the investment industry has been doing this year.

You can view the full Staycation series by clicking here.


Natasha Turner

Natasha is global editor at ESG Clarity, part of Mark Allen Financial, and has been a financial journalist for seven years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of the...