Updated: May 10
Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?
My name is Gemma, I am 36 years old and live in Snowdonia. I enjoy exploring our beautiful National Park and having the opportunity to share it with others. I am a keen adventurer and love to travel.
At the beginning of this y,ear, I changed careers to the great outdoors and started up my new business Snowdon Hikes. Before then, I was working full time in the Corporate Industry clocking up over 100 hours a week. This had an impact on my health and wellbeing and I struggled with the work, life balance. I found myself escaping outdoors for sunrises and sunsets before and after work to keep myself grounded.
The strain on my mental wellbeing began to show. Luckily I was able to seek support and during this time, it made me realise I needed to find a new path and this lead me to the outdoors. When I first discovered the Peak District for The Women's Trad Festival this opened my world to climbing. I felt calm and safe, I was in my happy place.
Now a year on, I have my own outdoor business. I am a newly qualified Mountain Leader, own @snowdonhikes and I have my Rock Climbing Instructor Training booked in for November! The clients I take out now are often in the same situation I was in. Stressful jobs and I give them the chance to reconnect with nature. Climbing is a huge part of this and I can't wait to become a qualified Rock Climbing Instructor.
Give us three words that you identify with most?
Free-spirited, adventurous, caring.
What brings you the most joy outdoors?
When I am guiding, it's the smile on peoples faces and their “Wow this is unreal” moment. They are experiencing something for the first time and knowing I have been able to bring them this joy, makes me all warm inside. For me, it is the beauty of the landscape and how it changes with the seasons. The challenge of conquering new peaks, climbing, scrambling or hiking. Being outdoors with my loved ones and sharing adventures with like-minded friends.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
My biggest challenge during my career change was completing “The Welsh 3000” and then leading a group for the challenge in harshest conditions. It is classed as one of the toughest hikes in the UK by Redbull and it certainly meets this criteria. My second biggest challenge was my “Mountain Leader Award”. It was challenging but extremely rewarding. It has changed my life.
If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be?
To be kind. You don’t know others; struggles or strains. People go outdoors to escape modern-day stresses. Greet others in the outdoors, you could make their day, month or year with a simple “Hello”.
Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?
We are all beginners. I only started climbing two years ago, by chance when I joined Clwyd Mountaineering Club. That year I went to The Women's Trad Festival. It was an amazing experience. I met incredible people and now I am looking forward to my Rock Climbing Instructor Training.