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The world of adventure travel is usually dominated by men, but there are countless inspirational women out there who are challenging perceptions. They climb mountains and run across whole countries, stick it to the man and live a life of wonder. Once a year, some of these women come together at the Women’s Adventure Expo in Bristol to build each other up, tell stories and motivate each other to get outside and experience all that life has to offer. Here are just six of those amazing British women.
Beth went from wheelchair-bound to world-class athlete and has pushed her limits further than she ever thought possible. In 2012, she swam the English Channel and was home in time to tuck her son into bed. She’s faced sharks in deep water, trudged on through deep seas with an injured shoulder for 12 hours and beaten M.E. with sheer determination. She was the first person to cross the Scilly Channel and first British female to cross the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. Beth is honest, frank, a total inspiration and someone who was humble enough to know when it was time to go home.
Anna has adventure in her bones, and although she’s run the length of New Zealand and cycled through both the Andes and every state in America, she’s modest, laughs at herself and thinks that everyone should be getting away from their computers and into the outdoors. Anna believes this so much that she’s created The Adventure Queen Grant, which funds one woman’s adventure, however great or small. Anna is never far from taking on her next challenge.
Cal is one serious nature lover. Not only does she SUP and surf, but she’s also a vet and a pioneer for the end of single-use plastics. She has SUP’d over 260 around the coast of Cornwall and North Devon in strong headwinds and currents to engage with people and raise awareness of the damage plastic is causing to our beaches and oceans. Recently, Cal SUP’d solo around the remote and untouched coast of the Isles of Skye with her Paddle Against Plastic campaign.
Sian is a blogger, writer and award-winning travel journalist who knows that big adventures aren’t always possible but that the simple act of getting outside and breathing in fresh air is enough of an adventure from the 9 to 5. Whether that’s in the form of sleeping in a van on the cliffs of Cornwall, wild swimming in fairy pools or wandering the coast path, Sian stresses the importance of just getting out there. That’s not to say that she will shy away from the extreme; Sian has recently jumped into arctic waters in Greenland, surfed in Sri Lanka and slept on a suspended ledge off the coast of Dorset.
Antonia has driven a pink tuk-tuk from Bangkok to Brighton, has gone totally off the beaten path in Arunachal Pradesh in India and come up with many extreme adventures for The Adventurists. Antonia travels slowly and deeply to remote corners of the world, learning about people in places where nobody usually ventures. She’s got bucket loads of stories from Borneo to Burma, each one filled to the brim with the kindness of strangers.
Not only has Mollie summited Mount Everest twice, but she done it from both the south and the exceptionally hostile north face. Mollie was one of the youngest British climbers to stand on top of the world, the youngest woman in the world to summit from the north side and first English woman to successfully summit from both sides. Mollie is not someone to be taken lightly. Read her tales of mountains, altitude and exhaustion; she makes it all almost seem easy.
Oh, Squash! Squash was the first British woman to fly from the top of Mont Blanc and is a confident, lovely, adventurous female bonanza of inspiration. She skis, she hikes, she climbs, she paraglides, she talks to large groups of people to get them to get out there and follow their dreams. We love you Squash, we do!