/ please read, need contacts.
Rory, think about joining a local Cadet force. The Sea Cadets provide lots of 'Adventure Training' activities... working towards qualifications as well.
Another good starting point is to join a local mountaineering club.
If you are in the People's Republic of Scotland, look at http://www.mcofs.org.uk/clubs-list.asp
They also have a good Getting Started section http://www.mcofs.org.uk/get-active.asp
If you live in other parts of our United Kingdom like Wales, Ulster or even England, you could look for similar info on the BMC website http://www.thebmc.co.uk/
And I forgot to say: go for it!
...and there are commercial or charitable organisations that will take you on expeditions, for a fee.
For example, World Challenge, BSES, ISM, depending upon your selection, will give you training in trekking or climbing, and will take you to anywhere from the Alps to the Himalayas to the polar regions.
this is the easy part. in 2 years you can build enough skill etc for your first extended trip to big mountains..
what may be harder is the cash to pay for it. getting in with some mentoring climbers is one thing, getting mentored for a disposable income is another.
you want to be putting away a few grand each year (not blowing it on girls, weed, cider and cars).
if youve got that side sorted you are well ahead, if not, get a part time job asap.
otherwise, start reading atlases, walking around with a big pack on and get used to cold nights in sleeping bags.
a degree of it all is luck, but mostly its hard, lonely work.
Getting a disposable income - that indeed is a challenge!
As for your other point, I have managed to avoid spending lots of money on weed, cider and cars...
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