Adventure Bulletin July 2021

Hi everyone,

Surprise! It’s not Wednesday! Guess my forecast from last month was overly optimistic. Last month was one house-moving disaster after another… but I am now safely moved with internet connection (phew). We should be back to Wednesdays again but, as used to be the motto for this newsletter, adventures happen! 🤷


Solo Adventures Spotlight

This month, we’re going to be talking about solo adventures. Doing things with friends is awesome, but sometimes it’s great to go it alone too. Whether your motivations are to challenge yourself or you simply don’t have anyone to go with, there are plenty of adventurers who choose solo.

  • Jenny Tough - split between Scotland and Canada, Jenny’s current project is to run the length of a mountain range on each continent. She also takes part (and often wins) endurance/adventure bike races. Her website jennytough.com has some useful videos about packing for solo adventures. For her short films, start with El Miedo (The Fear) about her run across the Bolivian Andes.

  • Anna McNuff - founder of Adventure Queens and author of many adventure narratives, Anna has done some pretty big solo adventures. Like running the length of New Zealand and cycling through all 50 states in the USA: annamcnuff.com

  • Sarah Outen - rower, cyclist, kayaker… Sarah took on a huge solo project London2London via the world, a journey of some 25,000 miles that took 4.5 years and wasn’t without setbacks. Read her blog or watch the trailer of the multi-award winning expedition film Home.

  • Lucy Barnard - is trying to become the first woman to walk the length of the world from the bottom tip of the American continent to the top. So far she’s walked 30,000km: tanglesandtail.com

  • More women than you think… Several years ago, I wrote a blog post collecting 100 Women who walk or run solo to counteract the negativity on Google search for “women who walk alone”.

The idea that it’s unusual or brave for a woman to be on an adventure alone is a bit of a bug bear of mine, having personally done many fairly remote trips on my own. If you have any questions about the practicalities of it, I’d be very happy to help. The more normal we make this, the better! Drop me an email (no thoughtful question is too silly).


Adventure News

  • Jess, Lou, Jules & Rhian of InternationElles will attempt the Guinness World Record and World Ultra Cycling Record for the fastest four cyclist relay from Lands End to John O’Groats. They are cycling to “shine a light on the inequalities in cycling & show what women are capable of”, on 28th June.

  • Sal Montgomery and the Pedal 4 Parks team completed their journey from the north to south of UK, connecting all the National Parks.

  • Sabrina Verjee beat the record for fastest supported run of all the Wainwrights in one continuous round. It was her third or fourth attempt and we were routing for her perseverance to pay off. She finished all 214 in under 6 days.

  • Yoshi Miyazaki is a female Japanese Mountain Guide, one exam away from becoming IFMGA. Right now she's about to start guiding expedition 2 of 2 on Denali. As far as we know there are no other Japanese women operating at her level of qualification as a mountain guide - yet she’s still very unknown. Here’s her Instagram - let’s go support her! Thanks to subscriber Jen McKeown for sharing.

You don’t have to be famous to get in our adventure news section - just tell us about your expedition! We seem to be featuring lots of records recently and I’d love to share blog posts about adventure without the competition.


Book of the Month

This month’s book is Coasting by Elise Downing, subtitled:Running Around the Coast of Britain – Life, Love and (Very) Loose Plans

Running away from your problems doesn’t solve anything – but sometimes it’s more fun than dealing with them. Elise was spending a lot of time crying on buses. She had just graduated from university; she had a shiny new flat, her first proper job and a budding relationship – and they were all making her utterly miserable. Sitting at work one day, she hit upon the obvious solution: run 5,000 miles around the coast of Britain, carrying her kit on her back.

Six months later Elise set off, with absolutely no ultra-running experience, unable to read a map and having never pitched a tent alone before. Over the 301 days that followed she developed a debilitating fear of farmyard animals, cried on a lot of beaches and saw Britain at its most wild and wonderful. Coasting is about putting one foot in front of the other, even when it feels impossible, and trying to enjoy it too. With heart and humour, Elise explores the thrill of taking risks and putting your trust in total strangers, and learns some home truths along the way.

About the Author

Elise Downing is a sea-loving runner from the middle of the Midlands. She writes things on the internet (and, now, on paper) in various forms for a living. When she’s not covering stupid distances on foot, she loves outdoor swimming and post-adventure trips to the pub. She currently lives in Bristol.

Find her online @elisecdowning (Instagram and Twitter here for ease) or on her website elisedowning.com

Read the Book

Here is your link to read the first 3 chapters of the book! You’ll need to sign in or become a member to view it. Here’s your button:

You can buy a paperback copy from all good bookshops including Waterstones, Blackwells, Hive, Bookshop.org and Amazon.


To Watch

  • The Czech Centre in London have got in touch about an online screening of K2: My Way, a documentary about Klára Kolouchová, the first Czech climber to summit K2. The film will be available to watch (UK only) for free from 12th until 15th July on Czech Centre Vimeo on Demand. You can pre-order it now in case you forget!

  • Laura Kennington rounds up her Park2Park cycling expedition in this short video.

  • UK Climbing and Montane are doing an Alpine Preparation series on YouTube led by instructor Rebecca Coles. Playlist here.

  • Kajsa Tylen makes videos about bikepacking, camping and more. Channel here.

  • Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (shaff.co.uk) was in person on 9th-11th July but it looks like you can still buy tickets to watch the festival online for this month.


To Read

  • Here’s an interesting article about the first woman to thru hike the Appalachian Trail who did it for a “lark”.

  • On the solo theme, here’s a short interview with Rosie Swale-Pope, who is running from the UK to Kathmandu and happens to be 74 years old.

  • An interview in Red Bull with Jody MacDonald who’s an adventure photographer.

  • And while we’re on a roll with interviews… Lessons in Badassery is a fantastic place for reading about women in adventure and sport. Latest interview is with Martina Valmassoi 24 hour uphill ski world record holder.

  • There seem to be lots of books popping up with collections of female adventurers’ biographies or stories. Here’s a new one for kids: Her Epic Adventure.


That’s all for this week, have a good one and as ever - stay intrepid,

Emily