Hannah MitchellBASE Digital Writer Hannah is a Lake District-based journalist and all-round outdoor lass with a particular fondness for rock faces.
The Love Her Wild End2End relay launched on the 16th of June at Land’s End, and over the weekend walkers reached their final destination of John O’Groats in the far north of Scotland. Founded in 2017 by Bex Band, Love Her Wild is an adventure community group that aims to encourage more women to get outdoors and start their own adventures, build confidence, forge friendships and realise their potential. The End2End relay is the organisation’s biggest and widest-ranging event to date. Bex said of the event:
‘The main purpose of the relay is to encourage women to get outdoors to improve physical and mental wellbeing.
‘Women and minority groups are still massively underrepresented in the outdoors, so I launched Love Her Wild to create a positive space to help tackle this. This relay is our most ambitious team adventure yet! There has never been a more important time for women to connect with others and to realise the benefits that come from spending time in nature.’
Women and minority groups are still massively underrepresented in the outdoors, so I launched Love Her Wild to create a positive space to help tackle this.
The relay which passed through a number of national parks saw 699 women from all over the UK carrying a baton across 2,082km and over 36,970m of elevation throughout the 74 day-long event.
The route was divided into 23 sections, with different teams of women joining the relay for each leg, from Cornwall to Caithness in the Scottish Highlands. Each section was guided by a qualified Mountain Leader, and participants could join for a single day or longer if they chose to.
Participants were encouraged throughout the event to clean up the spaces they passed through by taking away plastic pollution and other litter they found en route and all proceeds from the mammoth event will go to support conservation work carried out by charity The Woodland Trust. The total raised currently stands at £14,000.
The baton itself was made from locally sourced birch wood and etched with a design by 8 year-old Florentina. Featuring native wildlife, trees and encircled with figures holding hands, the design was selected as part of a competition for under 16s.
As we walked, plans ideas and adventures kept appearing in conversation, and I thought, THIS is why I’m doing it.
The End2End relay is the result of over three years of planning for Bex, and with multiple postponements due to the Covid-19 pandemic, at times it seemed like the event would never come to fruition. Bex recalls joining hikers for the first day on the trail:
‘I’ve never worked so hard on anything in my life, and I was seriously wondering why I was doing it,’ she says. ‘But then Day 1 happened. 20 women gathered at Land’s End, the views were amazing, friendships began forming.
‘As we walked, plans ideas and adventures kept appearing in conversation, and I thought, THIS is why I’m doing it. What a bloody brilliant day!’
Love Her Wild, whose tagline is: ‘we believe every woman deserves an adventure’, focuses their projects and events on teamwork and support rather than competition. Since its inception, the organisation has grown into a community of more than 35,000 women across the UK. The organisation connects women to join together in the outdoors and organises expeditions all over the world.
The organisation provides grants, mentoring, gear and funding to make getting outdoors easier for women, in particular those from minority ethnic background who are the least represented within the Love Her Wild community according to their own survey. To bridge the gender gap in the outdoor industry, Love Her Wild also supports women running Love Her Wild local groups and meet-ups to gain professional outdoor qualifications.
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