Gilly McArthur

Tell us a little bit about yourself...

A tricky question really! I was born and bred in the north of Scotland and now live in Cumbria, working freelance as an event organiser and illustrator. I’ve worked in the corporate world in the states, been a bar maid in the alps, trekked off grid in the Congo looking for a dinosaur, worked in the rock climbing business, played the french horn, sky raced and curled, studied meditation, been a goat steward and broken my back climbing. Not an extensive list, but I suppose all these small things make a person!

I’m most passionate about helping people improve their mental well-being and find my happiest days are up a mountain dangling on a rope or in a frozen lake with an axe in the depth of winter. And coffee. Always coffee, or whisky too.

When did your passion for adventure / the outdoors begin?

I suppose when I was a tiny human, my childhood was pretty wild, roaming on beaches and in lochs in wellies and shorts in all weathers, collecting shells, learning about trees and generally roaming. As I’ve become older I can really see how important our connection to nature and adventures are for us all – mentally and physically, so the more people I can encourage to be outside a bit more, the better! Not everyone had my sort of experience growing up, and I’m eternally grateful for my early introduction to a more barefoot life.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Blimey, there have been lots! Challenges will always come up in life, big and small ones, and the measure of a person is how they learn to grow and become wiser from those hard times. Challenges help us grow gratitude, compassion and empathy. In an outdoors setting, my biggest challenge would have been keeping present in a climbing accident I had, and not panicking… or trying to zip up a dryrobe when my hands are literally blocks of ice!!

What core value do you try to apply in your outdoor endeavours?

To enjoy it, we enter into things willingly, so when you are doing that activity try to enjoy it as best you can with a smile on your face. A small amount of suffering is good for us though, but if you are crying or feeling grumpy about it from the get go, perhaps it’s not for you, and scaling the dial back a bit is needed. Remember there are so many people who would love to do what you are doing right now and can’t. That’s what I try to remember!

What three words do you associate with being outdoors?

Freedom. Gratitude. Universal Connection and Joy (oh bollocks that’s 5, sorry)

What does the Wonderful Wild Women Community mean to you?

I love the friendships we have formed within the HQ team, so shoot the breeze by a lake side with articulate, funny, inspiring and likeminded women over chips and a beer is magic. There is always someone available for a big or small adventure from the doorstep, whatever the weather. I love the team dearly.