Storyteller, hiker, climber, writer and photographer Athena Mellor shares her life in the wild through photos, word and film. She talks to us about what inspired her, her essentials and what hiking teaches us.
What inspired your love of the outdoors?
I have always been inspired by my parents, who cycled around the world before they had children and told us tales of their adventures as we were growing up. Hearing their stories always made me want to go on adventures of my own, so when I graduated from university in 2015 I went on my first big solo adventure – cycle-touring in America and all around New Zealand for four months. That trip certainly sparked my spirit for adventure, and since then I have fallen more in love with the outdoors and particularly love to get out hiking and camping in the hills and mountains of the UK and beyond.
- You run several projects your Ramble Guides, as well as your own photography and YouTube channel. What inspires you most with your projects and what kind of content do you enjoy creating the most?
I have always enjoyed sharing my adventures. It started out through words and photography on Instagram, but it was when I started my YouTube channel in December 2018 that I really saw a community grow and fell in love with the medium of videography. Documenting my adventures in video gave those stories a whole new dimension, and it really is a joy to inspire people to get outside into nature. Alongside that, I have just published my first book which is a guidebook to the Peak District. This, for me, is just another way to inspire people to get outside and facilitate the process of doing so – by offering all my best recommendations of walks, sites of interest, cafes, pubs, accomodation and more in our beautiful National Parks. Making a book was really special to me, as I have always had a childhood dream of being an author and seeing my work in print is just a wonderful feeling. It’s hard to choose between words and video – I hope I am able to continue with both in the future!
- What do you think hiking teaches us?
I really think hiking can teach us so much on both a personal and wider level. On a practical level, it teaches you navigation skills, how to dress appropriately in certain weather conditions, decision-making skills, resilience. On a wider level, you can learn so many things from nature when out hiking; how to read weather and other signs in nature, understanding plants and animals you come across, and ultimately it can incite a desire to want to protect and care for nature, which is something that is so important in the current climate.
- Key pieces or kit to take on your hike?
A good pair of walking boots, Merino wool thermals and a warm jacket are essentials for me!
- What is your dream adventure or trip?
Ooh there are so many! I’d really like to do some more long-distance hikes with my partner, Harvey, and our dog, Oslo. There are a few in Scotland we really want to do, such as the Skye Trail and Cape Wrath Trail, but I’d also really like to do some more multi-day hikes in the Alps. Further afield, I’d love to head back to America on a big hiking and climbing trip, and the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand would also be a dream.
Athena wears the Green Checked Stag Shirt