Sunflowers for Soldiers: 1 girl, 2 dogs, 616 sunflower seeds

Recession, shattered career plans and 5 fractured vertebrae later the bite of conscience grips its teeth on this aspiring Army lawyer.

Brandishing a bag of seeds, a trowel, Sid the Whippet, Winston the Jug and a steely determination to honour those who suffered from the Afghanistan Legacy, I set off on a 630 mile journey along the South West Coast Path.

As I hiked the longest National Trail in the UK I met people from around the world who had been touched, in some way, by this war.

Unexpectedly, I was taken in by the band of brothers I was walking for.

Submitted by Janey McGill – you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Bring your friends along for the ride.

Whatever you do, at whatever level, you’re doing something that most people aren’t.

Most people don’t go running in the dark, albeit slowly. They don’t cut their hike short because they are tired, because they don’t ever start, and they can’t navigate using a map and compass because they have never tried.

But many would like the opportunity to try these things. I’ve persuaded many friends to dip their metaphorical and literal toe in the water of outdoor activities. And I get as much from this as they do. Take your friends with you.

Submitted by Alice – you can visit her website or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

Bivvying alone

Last month, I went to the Welsh coast to hike around during the weekend. I took my bivvy bag with me. The first night, I slept beneath a rowan tree near the coastal path. I was hidden from sight but could hear the last walkers chatting.

Then, all grew dark and still, and yet full of nature sounds, birds chirping before bedtime. The stars were bright. A helicopter came by and I was terrified by the loud noise coming towards me. I repeated a mantra to myself – safe, dry, invisible. In the middle of the night, I woke up cold and started worrying I’d get hypothermia. But I had something to eat and went back to sleep. Then, I was woken by sunlight. I heard the first hikers walking by. So I got up and packed up. It felt so free to sleep out alone in nature and I felt proud of myself like I could do anything!

Submitted by Hiranya – visit her website.


An adventure, by its nature is uncertain, to have an adventure you have to embrace this uncertainty and go boldly into the unknown.

Submitted by Rebecca Coles – you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Post natal depression

How getting outside helped me through a difficult stage in my life:

From not being able to make a decision about anything, I couldn’t even choose butter in the supermarket. By getting outside and setting small targets, I have completed 6 marathons, countless half marathons, 3 Ironman triathlons, 7 70.3 triathlons and lots more individual events. I have two super kids that love to be outside with me.

Getting outside and getting active is my life. Without it, I can’t exist.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Dragon boat paddling for cancer survivors.

I was so weakened after my treatment that I could hardly turn over in bed. I slowly built myself up and have paddled the whole length of Windermere. It’s great to get the rhythm back.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure. 

Believe in yourself!

I’m very fortunate to being born and raised in India in a liberal family which believes in the equality of genders. Still, I have been exposed to the inequalities and patriarchal mindset prevalent in the society. Regardless, I have always stood up to my beliefs and dreams, and have managed to pursue my dreams.

Not only have I pursued a career in the outdoor industry in a country where in a lot of parts women are not allowed to step outside their houses but I am also a long distance motorcycle rider.

I have done multiple bike rides in the remotest of areas of Ladakh which seldom have tarmac roads. I have been able to do so because the voice that I listened to was my own, telling me to believe in myself and not what the others were saying.

I have had my own grandfather say to me, “Do not miss the train”, referring to me getting married before its too late. To this, my brother rightly replied, “Don’t worry if she misses the train. She knows how to ride a bike”.

Through my story, I would like to inspire all the women out there to believe in themselves and their dreams, and not let the voices of the society bog them down. Have the conviction to stand up for what you believe in and have the conviction in the powerhouse that you are. The journey won’t exactly to a catwalk but then nothing that is worth it, seldom is. Steady on and keep going.

Submitted by Manjul Prateeti – you can follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

Walks are for everyone

I would like to emphasise the fact that walking is open to everyone of any ability and gender.

I see walking as a step for equality, awareness, diversity and openness. I believe we need to increase diversity and welcome people from all backgrounds. Walking will enliven your spirit and give great health benefits. Inspiration drawn from the countryside is wonderful and also keeps people in harmony with nature.

From mountains to agricultural areas, I have walked at different levels and enjoy all of it just as much. There is always more to discover so don’t get stuck in one area, keep reaching out to new countryside. Walking can be anything you want it to be – it can be liberating and also hard work. It can be any type, from urban to rural. Above all, walking is what you make it and you keep learning all the time. Remember different types will be preferred at different times of life – there is no age limit. Keep an open mind and keep walking. It can benefit both your physical and mental health. People also have different walking styles, fast, slow, ambling or racing and all are of equal importance and have the same credibility.

In choosing your distance, you can always do more than you think and sometimes stretching yourself can be rewarding, but don’t go too far otherwise, you will spoil the enjoyment. Select an environment you like best and join the Ramblers, as you can be part of any group on any day. Remember everyone had to start somewhere and even the most experienced can still go wrong.

Remember, if you have limitations or issues with health, walking can still help you. It should be as simple as breathing. It can be strenuous or gentle, hard or soft, warm or cold, challenging or easy… The most inspirational walkers I have seen are those with perhaps a limitation, but their determination is twice as strong and even more rewarding to walk with. This is the greatest pleasure to see everyone enjoying the walk and also to give support. It’s helped me through many things and has provided a new life experience.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other…

Submitted by Anna Shaw


My Messy Middle!

In May 2017 I cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End solo and unsupported. It was the culmination of the last few years growing confidence in both body and mind. I am still in awe of the person I had to become to do this.

I started out with a simple idea and a very false front telling everyone who asked, ‘it’s ok – I can do this‘…. whilst inside feeling that knot of wondering what the hell I had signed up for. I was also extremely self conscious about showing off about this adventure thing. Who am I – I said to myself constantly in the lead-up and that was carried with me into the ride itself.

It was only on day three that I meet who I was face to face and found out how strong and vulnerable I could be. I spent 13 days cycling 989 miles. I am so proud of what I have done but more than that I am proud of what I have inspired in others along the way.

My clients benefit from my personal experiences – they know I have been there too. My inbox dances with messages from people who I have unknowingly helped… This encourages me.

You can read about my messy middle here – that day that turned the tables for me. When the adventure was real and personal. The moment I stepped into the person I had been cultivating to do this. Read the full story.

Submitted by Nicky Harverson

Visit her website or follow her on TwitterInstagram or Facebook.