The Fog

It’s incredibly foggy today. Not ‘weather-foggy’ but politically foggy. As individuals in the modern world we are weighed down by unnecessary things. Social media, political issues, media, public transport, schedules, meetings etc.

I say this today because today we all woke up with an uncertain future. As we watch what is happening in the states, we feel helpless and disappointed with the choices of some and the fog in our heads gets thicker.

Going on expeditions clears that fog. All that useless worrying doesn’t matter when you’re out in the wild. To be honest, it doesn’t do a lot of good worrying when in civilisation either.

Now I have my concerns for the future, one of my biggest is the fear of stepping backwards with our progress in tackling climate change and embracing electric cars, (three hip- hip hoorays for Elon Musk) green energy like solar (again, Horray Musk) and educating people about it. However worrying won’t help me, it’s all about actions now. So I urge you to be rational and problem solve the things you are worrying about and to not let the modern day fog get in the way of the things that matter. Get outside into the hills and the mind will be foggy no more.\

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The Million Dollar Question

HOW DO YOU AFFORD ALL OF THESE ADVENTURES?

Expeditions do not have to cost a lot of money. We now live in a world where the cost of a flight is very reasonable and the internet opens doors for numerous ways of fundraising.

Okay I’m not in denial, the larger expeditions do cost a lot. Anywhere like the Arctic or high altitude mountains require an awful lot of kit and some pricey insurance. These take time to save and fundraise but it is, just like everything else, all possible if you want it bad enough. There’s crowdfunding and trusts that can all help get you the pennies for the bigger trips.

So excluding those kind of adventures, the others can be done on just a few hundred quid. I’ve recently found myself going on adventures with a smaller price tag whilst I save and plan for the bigger ones.

In the last 18 months, the cheap adventures I have been on are as follows: Walking across Spain (on my own route, not the camino), trekking in Scotland (45 miles per day!), the GR20; the long distance scramble across the whole of Corsica and finally, and epic adventure in Iceland.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to have some great adventures. Nor does it take a lot of time for some. I am very aware that with a full time job and a family, it’s not as easy to get out for months at a time. However, for a dose of the outside, a 40 minute train ride out of London and you’re out of the city and into the countryside. Take along some mates,  a sleeping and a bivvy bag, a field somewhere and you’re set for a night in the semi-wild! Alastair Humphreys is the expert on Micro Adventures. See what he has to say on these type of adventures here

What I’m talking about is somewhere in-between a micro adventure and an epic long haul expedition.

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Getting there

Living in the UK means we have easy access to the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Atlas mountains. So that’s cheap transport covered.

Food

Next is food. Planning is the best way to make food on adventures as cheap as possible. See if there are cheap supermarkets where you begin your adventure or take it with you in the first place.

Route

Research, learn and apply. The great thing about having experience and knowledge of the wilderness is that you  don’t need to pay for guides. Obviously this can’t always be the case for safety reasons but when you are able to guide yourself or go with friends who are more experienced than you, it’ll save heaps of cash.

Kit

Warmer destinations require less specialised kit. I have to admit I’ve accumulated kit for a huge range of adventures now but admittedly it has taken years.

I’ve got a low cost but exciting and wild adventure planned very soon. Flights were £50 return, I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before and spending a lot of time planning and researching the area to get the most out of the environment I’m heading to.

The hardest thing is always deciding where you’re heading and then committing. Commit and you’ve already begun your journey!

Senses in the Wild

I’ve been back working in the city for over two months now. I love the buzz of London with it’s fast walking and feeling of purpose but obviously I treasure having my time in the wild for several months a year.

There’s a fine balance between the wilderness and the city and it’s a tricky one the fact that I like to have both extremes in my life.

I’ve just come back in from a run. It’s time to get back on the fitness wagon after having a decent time off. It becomes such a conscious decision to be active when living in the bubble of London. That’s the great thing about expeditions – you are constantly doing your own version of yoga, pilates, aerobic, anaerobic and strength sessions. The same goes for senses, in the wilderness you naturally use more of them as part of a survival instinct.
Continue reading “Senses in the Wild”

Gear that works

Don’t you just love it when your outdoor gear simply works? I do.

The Patagonia Expedition Race and my adventures after the race in South America put me in some of the toughest conditions for outdoor kit.

Unlike the pristine Arctic wilderness where the snow keeps kit clean and the dry air prevents things from disintegrating, the Patagonian wilderness is primarily damp, cold and windy. The weather can turn from beautiful sunshine to the most ferocious storm imaginable. Gear is vital here and with a good tent, a good stove and a good sleeping bag, you can’t go too far wrong.

Continue reading “Gear that works”

Anti-Aconcagua scare

I have woken up early this morning because of the sun shining through the jeep’s windows.

I’ve been sleeping in a 4 X 4 the last few days… No, I’m not (yet) living on the streets because I spent all my last savings on the last trip, I am infact in Iceland on a filming project with the boyf. The view outside is spectacular as I write this, we drove off road to get to where we are now and today we plan on scaling one of the higher peaks to get some cool drone footage on the ridges. I’m an expert drone pilot now!image

I digress. Anyway, I woke up thinking of Argentina and the tales to document on here. This to me is like an online, saved forever, diary so it’s good to note some of the big events in life.

Tim and I woke up early in anticipation for summit day. We were climbing in Cordon del Plata. It’s home to endless 5000-6000 metre peaks and no one heads there because everyone flocks to Aconcagua in order to cross out one of the seven summits.

We had gone to Argentina with the intention of climbing it but were told when buying permits that the price had gone to winter prices (£1000!!!) and that we couldn’t go without a guide. Screw that! It’s not worth it! So on we went to seek out a less commercialised area with no rules, permits or people. We found out about Cordon del Plata and knew we’d hit the jackpot.

Continue reading “Anti-Aconcagua scare”

Race Race Race… Crash

The race didn’t quite go to plan.

Let’s start at the beginning. After months of preparation, the day of departure was finally upon us. I had been working so hard to make sure everything would run as smoothly as possible and as we sat on the plane, I could finally relax, or so I thought.

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The 5 days before the race were exhausting and made all of the team very ill with flu and fever. Continue reading “Race Race Race… Crash”

Winding Down

I am currently sat at the kitchen table in my childhood Suffolk home. It would be easy for one to think that I’ve come home for the weekend from London to pop in for some home cooking and a log fire as a break from the city.  However this would be wrong.

I haven’t been in London, nor Suffolk, for two months.

What an adventure I’ve had. In early February, the team and I headed out to Chilean Patagonia for what I now know for sure, is the toughest endurance race in the world.

After the race, Tim and I stayed on. We had another six weeks worth of expeditions from high altitude mountains in Argentina to huge icebergs in the wilderness of Patagonia. We witnessed first hand some of the effects that climate change is having on the landscape of Chile and Argentina. When we returned to internet land, we were all to happy to hear how well Elon Musk’s sustainable companies (and SpaceX!) like Tesla and SolarCity are doing.

I am struggling to wind down from all of the excitement and I’ll have to make sure I keep myself busy so not to fall into PED (Post Expedition Depression – a horrible mindset to be in!)

I have many stories to tell but for now, I stare at a mountain of kit to be sorted and hours of washing to be done. Here’s a few pictures from the trip as a taster of what’s to come.

Scared of failure

I am downright terrified. It’s now less than two weeks until I fly out to do the Patagonia Expedition Race and I can’t quite come to terms with it.

It’s not the race I’m nervous about. No, it’s the possibility of failure, of letting my team mates down, of not going fast enough to make the check point times.

I know I can do it, I can go on and on in pain and suffering but it’s whether I can do that at a pace that will get us through each round. My team are incredible and I feel honoured to have them but I do feel a huge responsibility to go much faster than my legs would like. They all seem to have an immunity when it comes to speed and endurance that I so envy.

To be honest, I’d be happy to go faster but lately, especially on the bike, I reach a point on hills where I simply cannot get the bike to move any quicker as my thighs burn to the point of exhaustion. All I can hope for is that as long as I push through, we will make the time and complete the race. My gosh, I want to complete it. All I can do is try my very best and believe in my mind as much as possible that finishing will happen and that I will achieve the impossible.

A more upbeat blog will come shortly, I just needed a little panic time.

An adventurous year

2015 is over and we are well into the epic year that is 2016.

I thought I’d take a look back at 2015 with all of its highs and its lows. And although it went like the clappers, I managed to fit rather a lot in.

Fairly well into the start of 2015, my world crashed down on me a little. Relationship status changed/crashed and burned and job contracts came to their end. However, all of this, which at the time seemed like the doom of all dooms, worked out to be the very best thing that could have happened to me.

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Sadness! (It wasn’t all that bad. It was midnight, -20 and I was on my way up to the summit of a 6000m mountain! Bolivia .2013)

If I hadn’t have had those gloomy days, I don’t think I would have been so in search of adventure and, dare I say it, ‘finding myself’ and remembering what makes me happy again. Sorry that’s cheese but true.

So there I was, feeling a little sorry for myself when I decided to grab my laptop and have a Google  of what possible expeditions I could do in Patagonia. Continue reading “An adventurous year”

The Trials and Tribulations of planning a trip

Last night I had a dream that I was with Ranulph Fiennes having a long chat about what a mission in itself planning an expedition is. This chat I had with him in my dream, isn’t that far fetched from when I met him the other day. Within a few short seconds of meeting Ran (in real life) he was giving me advice on life in general  and also expeditions.

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If Ran still finds planning an expedition hard work even after all these years, I thought it would be something to make a point of here in this blog. Continue reading “The Trials and Tribulations of planning a trip”

Short term memory

I usually complain about the fact that humans have a short term memory.

We do though, we will watch a hard hitting documentary about climate change and extinction and how we are one car drive away from wiping out this whole planet.. Then we will switch off the telly, get up and switch on the fan heater instead of putting on the wooly jumper grandma gave us.
We are short term creatures, only a couple of meals away from starvation.

There’s no wonder why most of the world can’t see beyond their own lives and don’t give a monkeys ass about what happens after they’re gone.

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This short term memory is something to be ashamed of.

Continue reading “Short term memory”

Two girls alone in the Arctic

We were just two ordinary 18 year old girls, with a German Mauser bolt action rifle, pulking through the Arctic…

Continue reading “Two girls alone in the Arctic”

Patagonia is creeping up. Fast.

Oh my, oh my. The weeks are flying by. Even though I am packing training and planning into every single day, it still seems like there isn’t enough time to feel at ease.

This weekend we were back in Dartmoor in the snow, wind, rain and even, sun. It was another chance to test out our kit and admin skills. We did a lot of navigation work and strategy planning.

Dartmoor is the perfect training ground. It’s wet, the ground is rubbish to walk on and the wind bites through any layer. As I sit and write this I can feel I’ve got repercussions from the wind and snow in my eye… Goggles/good glasses needed. Noted.

IMG_4199 Continue reading “Patagonia is creeping up. Fast.”

Training for my biggest challenge yet

My training for the Patagonia Expedition Race has well and truly begun. See featured photo of me having a mare as I climb up a stream.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I am terrified. This is the only challenge that I’ve taken on where I haven’t been 100% sure that I am going to make it. That’s exactly what draws me to it. Continue reading “Training for my biggest challenge yet”

GR20: Not to be underestimated

About a month ago I decided I needed to go for another trek as part of my training for Patagonia.

With it being summer, I thought I’d treat myself to somewhere out of the UK and head for Europe. My adventures usually start with one initial idea followed by a Google search. Continue reading “GR20: Not to be underestimated”

West Highland Way

Sorry for being off the posts the last couple of months. It’s been hectic my end and there’s a lot of exciting prospects happening at the moment. Unfortunately I can’t share just yet what these prospects are, but they really are out of this world.

I have two little adventurers planned for the upcoming weeks. Let me tell you about the first:

Continue reading “West Highland Way”

My next challenge

My next challenge is a ‘biggun’ (big one).

Thinking about it now makes me gulp and feel like I should run around the block and do some press ups in order to prepare.

I am the captain of a four person team taking part in the Patagonia Expedition Race 2016. This race is serious. ‘The Last Wild Race’ ‘The Toughest Race on Earth’. It will seperate the men from the boys. (In my case the women.)

Continue reading “My next challenge”

Jungle Jaguar Jeopardy

I’m about to explain the scariest moment of my life to this date. The moment lasted a whole night and brings shivers to me even now.

Last year I went to the Amazon jungle. I chose to go to the most pristine part of the interior (interior= jungle) in Guyana, to get the full Amazon experience.

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One of our camps – beautiful in the daytime.

I was to first complete a survival course then I’d leave with two Amerindian tribe members for a hunting trip that would take me deeper into the bush.

Continue reading “Jungle Jaguar Jeopardy”

About Lucy

So you’ve found yourself on my ‘blog’. I never thought I’d set up a blog but after having written a few entries now, I am rather enjoying the release aspect of it. Take a look top right at the menu and widgets for the blog entires.

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Just chilling in the Amazon with my bow and arrow

I am 22 going on 23 come July this year (2015). I grew up in the beautiful countryside of Suffolk as an only child. I found myself climbing and exploring the countryside as the best way to spend time. This has been amplified into what I essentially do now.. I am, I guess, an adventurer in training..

Continue reading “About Lucy”

People are Nice

People are nice. We forget this and assume the whole world is out to get us.

My faith for humanity was restored to me on the first day of my Spanish 500 mile hike that began and ended at the coast. I went through the Picos mountain range and into some very remote areas where people were sparse.

I had been walking for 8 and a half hours and my body wasn’t acclimatised at all. My pack weighed 26kg (more than it should’ve because I’d decided to self support as well as bringing all my camera equipment.)

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It rubbed my hips with each step but it didn’t seem to bother me until I took a glance at them the following evening- red raw and lumpy.

Continue reading “People are Nice”

A moment of panic

I was gripped into the ice wall by just the front two spikes of my crampons that were tied as tight as I could get them to go on the outside of my red plastic boots. At this moment I really regretted not buying my own top of the range shiny new crampons. It was so unlike me; I almost always go for the gear with the best reviews from all of the gear nerds who like to refer to numbers and weight to give their review a little bit more gut than the last nerd. At least if I’d bought new crampons, there was nothing more I could’ve done if I did happen to hurtle down the side of the 6100 metres mountain. Instead I’d decided to save my money and rent out some rusty, worn out and half blunt crampons that were loose at the best of times. It was freezing. I mean bloody freezing. I’d been freezing before, I’d spent plenty of time in the Arctic before. Arctic Lucy I’m often called. But that’s a different kind of cold to the one when you’re at the top of a mountain, after climbing for 8 hours and unable to breathe. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA My body was shivering uncontrollably as the morning sun began to rise which made the crampon-gripping situation even worse. We’d set off at midnight and had climbed all night. Now the ice was warming up with the sun’s rays. I could feel myself grinding down the only contact I had to the mountain wall but there was nothing I could do. Continue reading “A moment of panic”