“Don’t ever accept anyone else’s preconceived limitations. If there’s something you want to do, there isn’t any reason you can’t do it.” Amy Dodson
Loz or Shep to her Instagram friends has been an absolute delight for me over the last few months, she was one of the wonderful women that got me through lockdown and what had been a pretty crap start to 2020. Plus she loves snacks as much as I do. You can find Loz on Instagram @scottishloz
1. Can you tell us something about yourself?
So I am 34 (35 in October) but I still feel like a teenager especially when I’m running around up the hills. I live just outside Lancaster but originally from the north east of Scotland. I was always an adventurous Tom boy as a kid, up trees, covered in dirt and on a skateboard but my family weren’t the hiking kind of people. When I moved to the Cumbrian area around 8 years ago I fell in love with the fells and mountains around me. I love climbing, hiking and wild swimming. I have just really got into kayaking and can’t wait to try SUP.
2. What is the first memory of an adventure you had? And why does it stand out?
It’s not the first adventure on but around 5 years ago I went to the Isle of Skye for the first time and was mesmerised. Hiking up the undulating hills of the Lake District couldn’t compete with the really pointed hills and dark loops of the Cullins and I was blown away at the beauty. It stands out for me because it was the first time I did some real “dangerous” climbing and I will never forget the heart my throat feeling whilst getting to the top of the ridge. A memory that will stay for me forever.
3. What are three things on your bucket list?
I would love to hike in New Zealand. The description of the place makes me think of the Lakes but on steroids and to be able to explore the myths and legends of that part of the world would be breath taking. I am also looking at getting a trip booked to Peru to walk the Machu Picchu. Lastly, Ben Nevis. Not quite in the same realm as the two previous but being Scottish and having climbed the other two national peaks this would be the icing on the cake. Hopefully, being a teacher and having the summer off, I can tick this one off sooner rather than later.
4. Are there any women that inspire your adventures or that you look to for inspiration?
I am inspired by so many women in the outdoor world. From Leigh Craigie, to Sarah Gerrish, Vicki McCreadie to you Emma. I used to be terrified of doing something “wrong” on the outdoor circuit especially as a female, but the doors to the female lead adventure is firmly open and I am in awe of all these women who lead the way.
5. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself, JUST DO IT!!! Get outdoors, go where you want, be true to yourself and do not let anyone hold you back. Be kind and look out for others, the world is a beautiful and wonderful place.
6. What advice would you give someone who is just starting their outdoor journey?
I would suggest just following a few outdoor people for some really cool hot spots, and get out there. Even if it’s just a wander around your local area, or up to the lakes or Peak District. You don’t have to feel Intimidated as everyone started somewhere. Don’t buy all the expensive gear, just shove on a pair of leggings and trainers (the brighter the better in my opinion) and put one foot in front of the other.
Oh and snacks, never ever forget snacks!!!!!
7. What is the hardest adventure/hike you have done and why?
Other than the previously mentioned Cullins, The hardest hike I ever did was up Blencathra via sharps edge. It was a march early morning start and although I felt safe and prepared, I had no real idea what was a head of me! There comes a point on sharps edge that there is no turning back and you have to “get out of your head”. Luckily for me my partner at the time held back the information about the deaths from me until I was sadly at the top. The technical parts were tricky and it was like solving a puzzle, finding holds and staying safe. Especially as it was wet and cold. But after wards, I had such a buzz that given the chance I would have done it straight away again.
8. What is your favourite thing about the outdoor community?
I love my outdoor community and the people I surround myself with on adventures. They are supportive, humble and inspirational.
9. Is there anything you would change about the outdoor community?
I would like to change some of the eliteism. At times it can seem as though if you don’t have all the gear, or climbed the highest mountains, or are a white man that it’s not for you. But that’s wrong. The outdoors if for everyone no matter what gender or heritage you are. I want this to be more widely known and for people to feel as welcome as I do it this community. I know this will happen, it’s just needs to get the message out.
10. Is there a sport/adventure pursuit you would like to try? If yes what’s stopping you?
I would like to try SUP and I always was put off because I didn’t think I would be good enough and feel judged. However, no I am more confident in myself and know if you don’t try you don’t know, I am ready to get out on the lake with the girls during summer holidays.
11. Has the outdoors impacted your mental health?
100% yes. I have suffered with depression on and off for a number of years, and especially SAD. I know when I haven’t spent time outdoors as I become down and lost. But dragging myself out the door, within ten minutes the fresh air, sounds and the wind I feel relaxed and at ease. The outdoors is my way of finding my strength and believing in myself again and that sadness will pass.
12. What does a typical adventure day look like for you?
Early start, bags packed, coffee flask, climb hill, swim, laugh!!
I am so lucky to have amazing friends who never say no to a day out adventuring My friend and writer Loren Cafferty (maidinthenorth on insta) is a walking fact file of history and environment. There is no bird, plant or animal she doesn’t know and it is a pleasure to learn whilst climbing big hills with her.
13. What is the one song you would pick to sum up your time outdoors?
I am naturally a rock chick but Bill Withers lovely day would be my song. No matter if you get drenched walking to Slaidburn or burnt to a crisp on the top of Ingleboriugh I know I will have an amazing day out.
14. What three things do you always carry on your adventures?
Kendal mint cake, water and plasters. Never go anywhere without mint cake!!!!! Sponsorship please……..???
15. What is your favourite snack while on adventures.?
Peanut butter sandwiches!! But my friend Gemma introduced me to Haribo Squishes…..man these are incredible!!!!!
16. What are your top three favourite outdoor brands?
I am a rab girl, love love love their stuff!!!!! Also berghaus.
And then anything in the sale in gaynors in Ambleside really!!
17. Are you happy with their selection of women’s clothing?
I still find men are a priority and women’s brands don’t go higher than a size 14 really. This is a sad fact and at time if prevents people from enjoying the outdoors or believing they can do it because there isn’t kit built for them. I would like to see the industry change this.
18. How did you find lockdown? Did you discover new ways to have adventures?
I live on my own so had to navigate that and ensure I stayed focused and upbeat. I ensured I took my hour outdoor time every day and I found new and exciting walks in my local area. Had I not been forced to have that time I would never have found hidden spots of joy.
19. Will your adventures changes after Covid-19?
My adventures will change because I will look out for others more. I will ensure that I am As safe as possible and think a little more about where I go and not flock to the busy places especially in the lakes. It’s a place for sharing and I want to ensure that everyone gets a spot.