Before you embark on your next morning walk or weekend hike, check out these inspirational walking influencers who are guaranteed to brighten up your timeline.
Walking and hiking are having a real renaissance. Lockdown taught many of us the value of being in nature, of escaping the insides of our tiny flats for wide-open spaces and precious slices of greenery. In fact, a Mintel survey found that almost a quarter of the British public are now ramblers – up from 16% in 2018.
It’s for that reason that we’ve come up with the Strong Women Trek – a 22km hike across leafy north London. What could be better than coming together to walk, talk and explore in the September sun?
But before you sign up, we recommend filling your Instagram with plenty of hiking inspiration. Forget fitness influencers whose grids are composed of selfie after selfie; you want to start following women who’ll schlep to the tallest mountain to capture the most breathtaking view. More importantly, we’ve selected hikers from all walks of life to prove that everyone – regardless of race, location or size – can access nature.
The Hill Walking Hijabi
If wild Scottish landscapes are your thing, you’re going to want to follow Zahrah, aka The Hill Walking Hijabi. The Glaswegian chartered accountant got into hill walking five years ago, which she admits “wasn’t love at first sight, it was a (very) slow burner.” Now that she’s ‘arrived’, however, she’s here to stay.
Her account is as refreshing for its honesty as it is for its wanderlust; “I show the tough side as well as the beautiful side of hiking,” she writes.
Go south of the border and you’ll find Thao Nunns (and occasionally her two children) showing off the quiet side of the Lake District.
Far from the hoards of tourists that schlep up to Windermere for cake and Beatrix Potter, follow Nunns for plenty of green and blue space, as well as the odd wild swimming post. Can there be a better way to cool down from a sweaty hike? We think not.
Roz Purcell has many strings to her bow. She’s a cook, a fitness influencer and a hiker who has set up her own walking community called The Hike Life.
Not only does she highlight the amazing and diverse landscapes of Ireland, but she also organises events and sells outdoor clothing (pre-loved and new).
This pair – Leanne Hockham and Adina Aprodu – are on a quest to discover beautiful surroundings. You’ll find them hiking hills, on coastal walks and exploring National Trust spaces.
We love their account as much for friendship goals as for the destination inspiration.
Marta Misztal may be based in London but she seems to spend the majority of her time scaling Snowdonia, East Sussex and even Everest.
She’s proof that there’s plenty of hard-core hiking to be done in the UK and beyond.
Our very own Strong Women columnist, Rhiane Fatinikun, is the founder of Black Girls Hike.
Give the group a follow to find out about their events, meet-ups and adventures, but follow Rhiane to see what she’s up to.
The Wanderlust Women
The Wunderlust Women is a community of Muslim women hikers founded by Amira (@amira_thewanderlust). Their mission is to “diversity the outdoors” and every post is joyful.
There’s even been an award-winning short film made about the group which is well worth watching.
What Would Elle Woods Do
Like Roz, Chelsea (aka @_whatwouldellewoodsdo_ isn’t) isn’t UK-based but her content is great for planning outdoor adventures once we are able to travel abroad with more ease.
Chelsea’s account is dedicated to making hiking accessible to people of all sizes, describing herself as “queer, fat and joyful”. Get ready for waterfalls, rainbow flags and more than a few cat pics.
Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.
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