On the 13th December Charley and I woke up at 6am, packed our climbing packs and loaded them into the car. The stars were bright and beautiful, the night dark and crisp and the day young, very young.
If there is one feeling I wish I could package up and share with the world, it would be the way nature makes me feel. I have never felt more alive, free and strong in myself than when standing on top of a mountain. The wind blowing around me, clouds shifting to give way to a beautiful sunset, my heart and lungs beating. I literally feel on top of the world. There’s something about the wind, the flow of water from rivers and the vast expanse of the wilderness, that makes me feel afraid and protected, vulnerable and confident at the same time. It’s almost as though, in the whispers of the wind, I know everything is exactly how it should be and I don’t need to worry about a thing.
I almost didn’t go to Scotland. I almost caved into my doubts “It’s too far to drive, it will be too cold, I’ll be on my own and might get lonely, it’s dangerous, I don’t want to leave my cosy home where I feel safe, have I completely lost the plot…”
Something inside me said “You need to do this” and so I did. Over the years I have learnt to listen to that voice inside me; my gut instinct and intuition. It has served me well.
I knew I needed to go to Scotland. To feel the wide open space and the wild of the Highlands running through my soul. For me, Scotland is the antidote to London life. Scotland, and specifically Glen Coe where I drove to, is my favourite place on the planet. The views are outrageous, you feel this power from the mountains towering over the road coming up from the South. The deep valley was carved out centuries ago from glaciers and volcanoes. It’s an amazing place to adventure and the widlerness reconnects me with who I am at my core. I wanted to feel that.
Sometimes you’ve just got to say “I hear you doubts and fears, thank you for protecting me, but I’m going to go for it anyway!” That’s exactly what I did.
Imagine the sea glistening like diamonds dancing in the sunlight, the road carving through the mountains ahead, the sweet summer smell of forest pines, and of course, your ultimate girl (or boy/girl) gang cycling beside you. Welcome to Mallorca – possibly the best cycling destination on the planet.
Mallorca is a magical island waiting to be explored, and although it’s fantastic for hiking, climbing, yoga, watersports, and the food, the reason it draws me back again and again is because of it’s cycling. If you are inspired to venture off the beaten path on your next holiday, pack your bike and head out on one of these famous routes. You’ll love it!
If you dream of adventuring at the edge of the world, in a place that feels as wild as it does welcoming, go to Shetland. I spent an incredible five days exploring Shetland by kayak, foot and campervan; wild camping on remote beaches, chasing glorious sunsets, being out in the sea surrounded by seals and puffins and eating fresh fish and seafood.
Shetland left me with a deep appreciation for saying yes to new experiences and all the wonder and joy that can come flooding into your life when you do. Here are my favourite hidden treasures of Shetland (and useful links at the bottom) to help you to plan your own magical adventure at the edge of the world.
I receive a lot of emails asking me to all sorts of crazy challenges, often with very little notice. I had three week’s notice to do World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24 hour non-stop Tough Mudder obstacle race in Las Vegas where I ran 50 miles and did 200 obstacles! This is why I train hard, despite not always having a specific challenge I’m training for; I want to be ready when these opportunities come up and jump on them.
When I received an email asking if I thought I could reach 10 volcanic locations, climbing or cycling to their summits in 72 hours whilst also driving between them in British winter, my first reaction was “We have volcanoes in the UK?” Apparently we do, dating back 450 million years!