Last weekend 140 Women and non binary folk gathered, rode bikes, shared stories and listened to amazing and inspiring stories from Women adventurers - and I am still beaming from ear to ear from this amazing trip.
This was the perfect mix of laughter and learning, in a supportive and communal atmosphere.
My journey to get there took me from South London to the Lakes, via Preston and Oxenholme! Not the easiest of routes and to travel with a bike on a train, is sometimes taxing - but I would have done it all again this weekend if I could.
I left south London, laden down with a fully packed bike and rucksack and cycled up to Euston station. I had missed the original train that my bike was booked on and had already encountered the first downpour of the weekend, but despite a bit of a wait at the station, I was finally on my way. Seeing lots of other cyclists passing through the station and sharing a knowing nod, further reinforced the power and friendships shared in cycling.
Quick change at Preston and I hopped on a Northern train to Oxenholme and met Steezy member Jade on the train. We decided to cycle from the station to the campsite and I realised that with carrying too much, and over the hilly terrain I was not prepared for this.
After deciding I needed to ride this journey at my pace and re-adjusting and repacking my kit, I carried on.
It was an absolute dream passing through the winding forest roads and cooling mists, around the southern end of Lake Windermere and the stresses of the city began to feel a million miles away. My Wahoo decided to have some fun and games and sent me over a series of increasingly technical gravel accents and descents. The first few were a blast, but the last ones were less welcome! However, all of this was so worth it, as I rolled up to the campsite to hear the evening talks starting.
These were tales from amazing women, doing incredible things in the outdoors: We had mechanics sessions from the incredible Vicky bikes, Vera Ngosi- Sambrook and Jami Wilson spoke about their journeys into ultra distance racing, Nic from The New forest off road club, sharing highlights of their workshop on Dismantling the patriarchy, one group ride at a time and the amazing Annie Le sharing incredible stories and tips from her many adventures and bike trips.
On Saturday I awoke to the sound of rides being planned and breakfasts shared and, unzipping the tent and emerging to the stunning scenery of Ulverston was something else. Myself, Alsyia and Helena started off in our mini group and rolled out about 10am to enjoy some of the forest's most stunning gravel paths, views and climbs. The weather was our friend and we rode through the amazing terrain, smiling, laughing, opening (and closing!) plenty of gates, as well as meeting and sharing the paths with plenty of other groups from the weekend along the way.
It was lovely to come back from the ride and chat to other riders rolling in from the forest trails, sharing stories and making plans for the following day. Saturday evening followed a similar vein to Friday, with more inspiring talks.
The fun continued on Sunday, but the weather had taken a turn and the mizzle had rolled in overnight. After a raffle and superb group photo, I had to pack up and roll down towards Windermere to catch the ferry and the train home.
Communal meals, campfires, meeting amazing women and sharing stories for one weekend was a tonic and created so many lasting memories. Sisters in the Wild was such a positive experience, exactly what I needed.
As Charlotte Inman said on the last morning as we all huddled in the barn, out of the rain: ‘it takes a village’ to put events like this on and I am so so grateful this village came together to make it happen.
Check out Sisters in the Wild events here.