Alumni Services

Margaret Winter

Having grown up in Edinburgh, Margaret Winter’s highlights of her time at university were the field trips and extra-curricular activities.

Name Margaret Ross Winter (nee MacLean)
Degree Course MA Hons Geography
Year of Graduation 1978
Margaret Winter

Your time at the University

I chose Edinburgh as the geography course was held as the best in Scotland: I was also able to stay at home which financially was beneficial.

As well as geography I also studied courses in economic history and urban design, coming into contact with some real characters. Sandy Crosbie, who sadly passed away recently, was my Director of Studies and he was superb at his job, as well as being an excellent lecturer.

I recall one field trip to Orkney at Easter time where we stayed in a really draughty outdoor centre where we stuffed the cracks in the walls with newspaper to keep out the cold!

As well as studying, I took part in an extra-curricular course called the Award in Physical Education which ran over two years and gave me the chance to experience lots of different sports and outdoor activities. We spent lots of time at Firbush Point Centre on Loch Tay, one time building snow igloos on the slopes of Ben Lawers which we then had to sleep in, as part of the survival element of the course.

Having not been sporty at school, I really enjoyed the chance to develop lots of interests in this area and discover that it’s not always winning at sport which matters, it really is the taking part.

Given that my future jobs involved sports administration it clearly stood me in good stead. I was awarded the Col RB Campbell Memorial Prize as the best student on the course which is my one and only sporting triumph. I also gained my Ski Party Leader qualification and was able to assist with ski teaching at Glencoe in the days when there was snow all winter.

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

On graduation, I wasn’t sure what to do, with the predictable route of teacher training being one option. However I opted for a post-graduate diploma at Dunfermline College of Physical Education and, on qualifying in 1979, I worked in various admin roles until I became the administrator of the Scottish Canoe Association in 1980, a role I still hold.

The job is hugely varied but is all about supporting members and encouraging more participation in the sport of canoeing and kayaking.

I met my husband whilst at the student’s charity parade in Edinburgh but as he was dressed in a babygro costume I didn’t take much notice. Later we met again at a mutual friend’s 21st birthday where I took a bit more notice!

He graduated in medicine in 1980 and we have two grown up children, both geography graduates from Aberdeen University. Having had a career as a GP and Psychiatrist, he now works as the Medical Director for specialised services at NHS Scotland.

We spent lots of time at Firbush Point Centre on Loch Tay, one time building snow igloos on the slopes of Ben Lawers which we then had to sleep in, as part of the survival element of the course.

Margaret Winter

I have been a volunteer with Girlguiding since 1974 and have held various roles including County Commissioner for Edinburgh and I am currently Chair of the Guiding Development Committee with Girlguiding Scotland, responsible for the development of all aspects of the movement’s programme.

I was presented with the Organisation’s 2nd highest award, the Laurel” in November 2014. Girlguiding is the largest youth organisation for girls and young women in the UK with almost 60,000 members in Scotland.

Alumni wisdom

Grasp any opportunity to do something different - you will never have a better chance than you have at University - especially in Edinburgh which is chock full of opportunities.