I've always thought of myself as quite an adventurous being. I've travelled down the famous smugglers haunt, Pipers Hole, in an inflatable dingy, got lost up Pen y Fan and recently trekked to the top of Beinn Dubh. But as time's gone on, I've felt my adventurous spirit becoming somewhat a little lost. That was until Shackleton recently announced the launch of their first ever women's-only challenge, which reminded me of the importance to carve out room for adventure in our lives.
For those who don't know, Shackleton Challenges offer unique expedition experiences and training. I'm not talking about a hike at your local National Trust though, these trips are to spectacular and extreme environments - the Antarctica, Mont Blanc, the Alpines, the South Pole (you get the picture). Now, the brand's launched a polar skills challenge in Norway, led by women, for women, that sets them up with the physical and mental skills to take on the polar wilderness and camp out in sub-zero temperatures – and I think it sounds amazing.
The new challenge is headed by expedition leader, Wendy Searle, the seventh woman to ski solo to the South Pole, unassisted and unsupported. When I listened to Wendy speak at the Shackleton store in Piccadilly last week, I couldn't help but be in awe of her story: a mum-of-four working with a full-time office job, who had no skiing experience and no knowledge of the South Pole, now on a mission to inspire other women (especially those in mid-life) that it's never to late to get out and go on an adventure. After she finished speaking my sister and I looked at each other with a glint in our eye, "which mountain should we climb next?" I said.
As you'd expect, an experience like this doesn't come cheap, it'll set you back just under £7,000. But, I guess these adventures are more than just a 'physical challenge', they're a mental one too, a test of resilience, as well as the chance to meet like-minded women and make memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime. Alongside this, Shackleton also launched a Womenswear range, including a new ultra light down jacket, Challenger Expedition Salopettes, and the world's first Polar Expedition Suit for women.
As Wendy touched on in her speech, polar expeditions haven't always been supportive of women, which is why this new challenge has been launched, to encourage us to follow in hers (and other female explorers) footprints. Although I may not be able to do an adventure as mighty as the Antarctic anytime soon, it sure has inspired me to push myself out of my comfort zone more, to be spontaneous and grasp opportunities tightly with both hands. After all, sometimes it's small things like this that can lead to one great adventure.
For more info about the challenges, visit Shackleton today.