Helen glover looking out to the distance

Helen Glover MBE

The Women Who Inspire Me In The Outdoors

The outdoors is for everyone. But that doesn’t mean everyone is ready to head out there. Whether it’s fear of the unknown, feeling like you don’t belong or simply not knowing where to start – there are many reasons why taking that first step can be the hardest. 


But to help kickstart change, we spoke to two-time Olympic champion, Helen Glover MBE about her own personal journey with the outdoors and the women who inspire her to explore. 

The outdoors has always been there for me. From a young age, it was the Cornish beaches that I felt most at home on. Wind in my hair, sand between my toes and salt on my skin. As I got older, finding my place within the Scouts and camping at the weekends grew my confidence and sense of feeling at ease while looking for adventure. But I never dreamed I’d end up with a career out in the elements.  


Being a rower has allowed me to travel around the world and experience lakes and rivers framed by mountains, stunning sunsets and early morning misty waters. As a result, I can speak enthusiastically (and at length!) about the benefits of the outdoors. The boost to wellbeing - both physical and mental, the social ties and bonds created with the people you adventure with. 

A collage of Helen Glover MBE in the outdoors

However, I know my relationship with the outdoors is a real privilege; one that many people feel removed from for various reasons. For instance, research suggests many women don’t feel the outdoors is a place for them. They face barriers such as a lack of confidence, concerns over safety and exploring alone, lack of skills or not feeling fit enough. Simply put, it’s common for women to feel nervous about accessing the outdoors and as a result, miss out on the incredible benefits that come with it.  


To help tackle this as a society, the first step is recognising that this disparity exists. There are wonderful nonprofit organisations out there on a mission to help women realise that the outdoors belongs to them too. Social media can be a powerful tool to help educate, inspire and communicate this message. There are many female outdoor enthusiasts online, and with a click of a button, you could be transported into their world and feel inspired and part of something that can belong to us.  


Here are a few incredible women who inspire me... 

Sal is an upcoming female leader in the world of adventure. She’s an adventurer, white-water kayaker, leader of first descent expeditions, and working behind the scenes on many of the biggest adventure and challenge shows on our TV screens.  

Meg is a survival and safety expert, usually up to some envy-inducing work trip that you can follow and enjoy on Instagram!  

Bex is the founder of Love Her Wild; an organisation dedicated to empowering women in the outdoor space and is a wonderful voice for women in the outdoors.  

In 2010, Bonita became the youngest British woman to climb Mount Everest and now with very young children in tow is a great example of how important the outdoors is for mums and families.

Presenter of Wander Woman podcast, Phoebe lives and breathes life in the outdoors. From adventures sleeping in the world’s most unusual places, to travelling as a parent and taking little ones along for the ride. Phoebe is a great source of adventure inspiration - both on your doorstep and further afield.  

From completing world first expeditions to travelling with a young family, Laura's love for the outdoors is obvious and integral to her family life.  

These women, and many more, are fantastic role models when looking at the world of the outdoors. Though many of these women have completed gritty and tough adventures, they also thrive on everyday adventures, stepping into their hiking boots and strolling through the woods on a quiet Sunday. Or picking a sunny morning to meet a friend for a paddle board, it’s all about getting out there, whatever that looks like for you.  


Right now, when I take my three young children out for a stomp in the mud, I see my daughter just as at ease and delighted by the outdoors as my sons. It’s no more theirs than hers. I really hope this feeling stays as she gets older. I hope she always recognises the simple pleasures of the outdoors and knows she belongs there too.  

Big thank you to Helen for sharing your outdoor journey with us, and where you turn to for inspiration for your next adventure. If like Helen, you’re inspired to lace up your shoes and head out to explore, you can find more help and advice on our blog. Or visit your nearest Cotswold Outdoor store to speak with our friendly team about the right kit for you.  

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