In 2015 veterinary surgeon Sophie Wilford took on the toughest horse race in the world. Modelled on Chinggis Khaan’s postal route across the Mongolian steppes, the Mongol Derby, run by the crazy cats at The Adventurists, involves navigating 1000km of wild grassland with no set route and spending nights with local families in traditional gers. She tells me about the incredible people, epic landscapes and painful nether regions that made up her race.
Get seriously inspired by Angelica Sykes, a British pro snowboarder who is tearing up the mountains are a freerider. I first met the lovely Angelica when we were both seasonnaires in Cervinia, in Italy. She was already getting into boarding in the backcountry then, and it’s amazing to see her now, riding as a pro and shredding her way through the Freeride World Qualifiers to be the top-ranked British woman. Ever wanted to take the next step and compete in your favourite sport? This girl tells you how to get the grit.
Film maker Elizabeth White, who basically has the best job in the entire world, on dodging polar bears in the Arctic and meeting sea gypsies in Sulawesi.
Hey! Ho! Let’s grow! Wonderful new campaign Let’s Grow Wild is fighting to save the UK’s native wildflowers and encourage the creation of beautiful urban spaces. I caught up with guerilla gardener Richard Reynolds to find out how he’s collaborating with the project, plus I’ve got three wildflower seed kits to give away.
Dave Cornthwaite is a man on a mission – to complete 25 expeditions of 1000 miles or more, each using a different form of non-motorised transport. Eight journeys in, he tells me about paddling the Mississippi, planning micro adventures and learning to fit your life in your rucksack.
Surfer Elsie Pinniger runs neon wetsuits from a little workshop in Newquay, designing and creating beautiful, seriously covetable bespoke neoprene suits in a rainbow of colours. She tells me about her love of the beach, seeing her wetsuits in Vogue and the joy of getting to surf daily in the name of work.
Gorgeous little video interview with Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest.
“Throughout my life I have been drawn forcefully to the outdoors, to forests and mountains, seacoasts and oceans, drawn by both a conscious delight in the grandeur and diversity of the planet and an unconscious spiritual yearning to be in the natural world.
It is in the wild places— in the damp, clean air of an ancient forest, on a heaving ocean in unpredictable winds, on a snowy summit at the top of the world— that I enter my own personal cathedral and know where I fit in the vastness of creation.”
Get inspired by my new girl hero, the rather amazing Rebecca Cork of Honeywoods Camping. She chucked in her day job to set up a pop-up camping company, and just hosted her very own mini festival, Feast in the Woods. We had a lovely chat about cider barns, campfires and compostable bogs.
A speedy chat with the rather epic Sean Conway, who this summer will attempt to become the first person to swim round the British coast from Land’s End to John O’ Groats.
No biggie – he’s already cycled the world, climbed Kili dressed as a penguin and grown a ginger beard of fearsome proportions.
Bee Watson and Kate Norman are my new girl heroes. This awesome entrepreneurial twosome who once ‘dreamed a little dream of buying a caravan and turning it into the most glorious mobile cocktail bar in the world,’ have just made fantasy a reality by launching The Cocktail Caravan, a travelling bundle of boozy joy in the shape of a polka-dot painted caravan by the name of Norman. I caught up with the lovely Bee to talk about tipsy afternoon teas, cocktails in jam jars and hitting the road this summer.
Josh Sutton, aka the Guyrope Gourmet, is not a fan of baked beans. Instead, he likes nothing more than to haul fresh neck fillets of lamb and a bottle of red wine across the Howgills, start up a fire and have a very civilized al fresco feast. With camper van Nan the Van in tow, he’s on a mission to revolutionize camping cookery. He told The Girl Outdoors about buying local, essential gear and his favourite foodie festivals.
National cycling charity CTC have put together a brand new, women-only elite cycling team, to help promote cycling and encourage girls to get on their bikes. The team will be racing both in the UK and abroad, as well as acting as cycling ambassadors, encouraging young women to get on their bikes as part of an active lifestyle. We chatted to girl racer Lydia Boylan about training, competing and chocolate addictions.
The Girl Outdoors loves a good girl sports hero, especially one as fearlessly cool as Becky Hammond, UK freeski champion and part of Team GB. The 25 year old took time out of training halfpipe in Breckenridge, Colorado, to chat about the highlights of her sporting career and what the ski scene is like for aspiring pro girls.
Having to surf in the biting cold is pretty much inevitable for riders in the UK, where freezing green waves, menacing grey skies and frostbitten fingers are more of the surf scene than tropical sands and hibiscus flowers.
Someone else has been on adventures in the Arctic recently, but in a more dramatic way than me. In March I interviewed the fantastic Steve Young, a soldier who trekked to the North Pole after breaking his back in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, despite being told he would never walk again.
My new online style crush is up-and-coming website Log Cabin Style, where “fashion, adventure and nature” live under one little wooden roof. Their nature inspired printed tees featuring rabbits, deer and birds are perfect for spring picnics and rambles. I had a chat with the girl behind the cabin, Gemma Evans.
Need some inspiration to get fit and get outdoors? Read my interview with the incredibly inspiring injured soldier who proved the doctors wrong – not only by walking again, but by trekking all the way to the North Pole for charity.
The Brecon Beacons is branded as ‘one of Britain’s breathing spaces’. As the Park Authority releases its new plan to promote the sustainable management of resources over the next 20 years, The Girl Outdoors looks at how the Park, which relies on visitors for much of its income, keeps a good balance between conservation and consumerism.