Chapter 26: Charlotte (Bristol)

Hi, I’m Charlotte @charlotte_hikes from Bristol. I’ve been a big fan of the outdoors since I was a kid. My mum used to take me on early-morning walks through the woods to help me feel less anxious about going to school. Since then I’ve always seen getting outside as a way to put life in perspective.

Whilst I was studying for a doctorate in recent years the anxiety returned as I stagnated at my desk and fretted about my research. It was then that I really got back in to hiking in a big way. I’m motivated by the great connection I feel with nature when I go out into the mountains or the woods. It is good to feel humbled in that way.

outdoors

I am a modest adventurer, as my blog The Uphill Struggler describes. With my long-suffering hiking partner in tow (@pete_plays_sax) I’ve struggled up mountains in Wales, Scotland and England, got lost in Laurie Lee country, swim in rivers, lakes and lochs, tandem mountain-biked through the forests of Yorkshire, and consumed my weight in Nature Valley bars 😂

In 2018, I decided to set up Bristol Girl Hikers, a group for women in my home city. It’s a daunting prospect to go adventuring alone and I wanted to meet more women who enjoyed the outdoors as much as I did. Just over a year later and we are now 850 members! It’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and I’ve met some truly inspiring women.

My advice to anyone who wants to get outside more is: just do it. You don’t have to be particularly fit. I wasn’t. Just take your time and know your limits. Learn about your environment and make sure you know how to navigate when needed!.

The more I hike, the more I realise how much hiking is a metaphor for life. You can plan and prepare but those mountains are never what you expect. They are breathtaking, depressing, exhilarating, terrifying. You feel like a small but not insignificant part of something much bigger than yourself. And it’s the people you hike with who make the good parts more special. It really is a wonderful thing (so just get out there!)

Thanks for sharing your story Charlotte, make sure you follow @bristolgirlhikers 👍

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