I grew up in Lynton in North Devon,  in the beautiful South West of England, so I am surrounded by stunning coastline and moorlands, which are a paradise for walkers.

Lynton is home to the stunning Valley of Rocks, one of the furthest southerly glacial valleys in the UK. I spent many happy hours playing here as a child. 

Valley of Rocks Lynton – photo credit Gregory Goldston

As a child I hated walking and detested the obligatory Sunday afternoon walk. My Nan would take me for a walk and would always have a bar of dark chocolate in her pocket, which she would use to tempt me to walk – one square of chocolate at a time – and of course there would be an ice cream in the tea rooms at the end.

Although I had dogs most of my life, I never really walked very far. Part of that was a lack of interest to accompany me on the part of other people and part of that was being massively overweight and unfit.

In 2014 I won a trip to LAAX in Switzerland and this started my love affair with walking and particularly with mountainous areas. 

Swiss Fil de Cassons, LAAX
LAAX in Switzerland

In 2016, I completed a Walk 1000 Miles in a Year Challenge. I was very proud of this achievement, especially as I completed it at Torver Beck, which is part way up the Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District, at the end of October, on a day which had experienced the first snowfall of winter.

Torver Beck Lake District
Completing my Walk 1000 Miles in a Year, Torver Beck, Old Man of Coniston, Lake District

In 2018 and 2019 I went travelling and ended up seeing some stunning mountain locations, including Scotland, Slovenia, Gibraltar, Bulgaria and St Lucia.

During 2019, I also walked over 120 miles of the South West Coast Path, from the jagged cliffs of Hartland Quay down to Porteath in Cornwall. This could probably be classed as a Journey of Escapism, as I was not long divorced, short of money, overweight and very unhappy in myself.

In 2020 I moved to a coastal location and started walking sections of the South West Coast Path, as far as I could go in either direction, as we were in the middle of lockdowns.

Hartland Quay

During 2021 I lost over 60lbs in weight and my energy and fitness levels skyrocketed. Walks that I had previously found challenging and tiring suddenly became much easier and much more enjoyable. 

2022 brought the opportunity for my absolute bucket-list, dream-come-true trip. This was a hiking tour to the Swiss Eiger region with the amazing Karrie Gregson of Alpenboxx. 

View of the Alps from Shilthorn, Jungfrau area

I have wanted to hike that area for the longest time, so I started to train for it by walking some of the steepest sections of the South West Coast Path, which are the first sections from Minehead down to Bude. There are some high ascents and descents, often from the beach straight up to the cliff tops and back down to the beach. It really gets the legs working. 

Lynmouth from Countisbury Hill

Whilst on the Eiger tour, I then had the opportunity to do another of Karrie’s tours, which was hiking the Italian Dolomites. I jumped at it and extended my trip so I could do it.

Italian Dolomites

That tour is probably one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but it was worth every step. It was also the place where I have had some of my greatest transformation and inspiration.

I faced and released a lot of past pain and realised I had spend my life treating myself as a worthless slave, rather than as the Radiant, Majestic Mountain Walking Girl that I am. 

Following those trips, I have been inspired to create books and journals with the “Messages from the Mountain” which I downloaded whilst I was there.