In Bristol Girl Hikers I found a lot more than just hiking companions. I discovered a whole new way to explore the world: with friends, with strangers and, mostly, with other awesome women.
'These boots are cosy AF. I will talk about them to anyone who wants to listen.'
'I had tried an electrolyte tablet once before and found it to be utterly revolting. These are effervescent tablets that you add to water to help replace salts during exercise in warm conditions (or when you have the sh*ts). They claim to be 'orange' or 'lime' flavoured but really they taste like medicine and death.'
This weekend I’ve faced my biggest challenge yet: a 22-mile solo hike along the beautiful Jurassic Coast in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. I’ll write a blog post on it soon but, meanwhile, here’s a video I cobbled together using pictures and video clips of the event (most made by me but a couple by [...]
"We know that exercise is good for the serial worrier and for mental health more generally. I challenge anyone to worry about long term issues (paying bills, health anxieties, social anxiety, work goals) whilst they are gasping for air during a spin class, a 10k run or as they ascend a particularly steep incline on a hike. The body can't do it. It brings you directly to your present predicament (My legs ache. How much longer can I stand? Am I going to be sick? It's hot. So hot. Need to stop and take a breather and water ... lots of water). And whilst some swear by the euphoria felt after a short, heavy bout of exercise it's the prolonged physical and mental activity of a strenuous hike that settles my mind best."
"Latrigg is one of those very easy minor fells - a fell for absolute beginners. Especially if you start at the car park half way up as we did (Pete likes to start there because you can buy coffee and snacks from a little van). It took us longer to drive there from Ambleside than it did to get to the top. I'm not even going to describe the route - if you can't find your way to the top via the wide open path then I'm not sure even Specsavers could help you."
"I don't normally associate Ambleside with the start of a hike. It's usually a place of sanctuary on our camping trips - a reminder of what it's like to be completely dry or how convenient it is to go to the toilet without having to put on shoes and a coat. But, the day after tackling Ullock Pike, filled with a new sense of adventure and apparently with no memory of the rougher parts of the day before, we decided to go South for our next Wainwright and parked up in Ambleside on a grey summer morning with a view to climbing Loughrigg Fell."
"We drove straight from Stoke to Dodd Wood where there is a small car park with a large fee. Modern methods of payment haven't reached the Forestry Commission car park at Dodd and the entire £6 fee for four hours parking has to be paid in coins. I'd love to watch them empty it at night - it must be like hitting the jackpot on a Vegas fruit machine. We changed a note in the Old Sawmill Tearoom and had a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich in preparation for the journey. I took the opportunity to show Pete the route we were taking on my OS map, though he was too engrossed in his sandwich to take much of it in. As far as he knew, I was leading us to our certain deaths."
"Like a small child I tried every excuse to return to the car: 'I feel sick. I feel faint. I need a wee.' Then a little later and a little more forcefully, 'I am going to be sick. I am going to pass out. I am going to piss myself. I am going to die.' When none of these petitions succeeded in shattering the rock that is Pete's determination to get me up mountains, I merely focused on slowly putting one foot in front of the other, head bowed in submission, muttering terrible things under my breath about Pete, about Skiddaw and about my total inability to just push through 'the wall.' Lots of people overtook us and I mentally gave each one of them the finger for having better stamina than I could muster."
"We didn't fall into any of the disused lead mines nor did we meet Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, Beatrix Potter's loveable hedgehog washer-woman who lived behind a 'door into the back of the hill called Catbells.' I can only assume that lead poisoning must have gotten the better of her."