CLARE KELLY

I am a qualified Mountain Leader and National Navigation Award Scheme Course Director and have worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years. I began my outdoor career working as a guide for Exodus, an adventure travel company. While with Exodus, I led guided walking holidays in Italy, as well as Nepal, Morocco, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Austria, and Spain.

Between 2007 and 2018, I worked as a guide for WalkingWomen, a company offering women-only guided walking holidays. I guided holidays in Italy, the Peak District, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, the Cairngorms, Cornwall, the Cotswolds and Nepal. From 2012 to 2018, I was employed as office manager at the same company and combined this role with my guiding.

In 2016, I set up Navigation for Women to help women develop new skills, gain confidence in their map and compass reading and put these skills into practice in the hills of the UK and beyond. I am a natural teacher (so I’ve been told) and gain a huge amount of personal satisfaction from passing on the outdoor knowledge that will open up a whole new world of walking to the women who come along. Navigation is a very teachable skill and I love teaching it!

And now, I have embarking on the next chapter in the form of Her on a Hill. I have long dreamt about running my own walking company for women and I’m really pleased to have taken this huge step. It has been exciting and at times daunting and, now that it is a reality, I am really looking forward to providing a varied programme of memorable walking activities for many years to come. I hope you’ll join me!

Nepal – Where It All Began…
In the 90's I lived a fairly sedentary life, living and working in London until one day a friend invited me to join her on a trek in Nepal. At the time, I wasn’t a walker at all but I did enjoy travelling and played squash once a week which, to my mind, meant that I was “fit”. So, of course, I said yes and promptly started training. My idea of training for a Nepalese trek was somewhat ill conceived – wandering the footpaths of Kent and Sussex on a Sunday afternoon really didn’t cut it!

In Nepal, I struggled day after day, up and down those trails, cursing and sweating. And then, the mountains worked their magic and very soon it all made sense. The rose-tinted spectacles came out and my life changed forever. I was hooked on walking and on Nepal. The grandeur of the mountains, the wonderful people, the adventure of crossing rivers on rope bridges, the pure scale of the landscape around me, the joy of the simple routine of getting up, walking, eating and sleeping. Reaching Annapurna Sanctuary was simply amazing – to stand in a glacial basin at 4,000m and be surrounded by 7,000m peaks. Indescribable! I’ll never forget the sound of the glacier moving and cracking below as I tried to sleep.

Within a year of that trip, I had saved my pennies and was off on a year and a half long world trip, doing as much walking as possible along the way. Exactly 5 years after dragging myself up to Annapurna Sanctuary I was back as a guide for a major adventure travel operator helping to make the dreams of others come true. I was fit by then and found the walking easy but I have never forgotten what it is like to find the going tough. Now 25 years on, Nepal is still an inspiration and I hope it will be part of the Her on a Hill experience each and every year.

info@heronahill.com

07444 794300

 

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