By accident, I ended up leading walking groups. 2019 saw me traveling through the Peak District on a train while I observed all of these hikers boarding and disembarking. A few of days later, I created a Black Girls Hike Instagram profile because I needed to try something new for my well-being. I started a group for black women because I didn’t want to go alone and I wanted to feel comfortable and supported.
We had 14 people join us for our first walk, so it definitely took off. Making connections in a group is advantageous. Manchester is a rather ephemeral city. People relocate here for employment or after graduation, while their friends live elsewhere. It’s a great method to meet new people. Everyone understands that you are a group of strangers trying to socialize and engage in activities you all find enjoyable. If it were a speed dating event, you would already have checked off many of the boxes.
I couldn’t read a map or use a compass when I first arrived at BGH. On Saddleworth Moor in poor visibility and horizontal rain, I got lost and managed to get the group lost, too. But you may discover so much about yourself through trips. It alters your perspective. Going out into the country used to cause me a lot of anxiety, but once you actually do it and see how immensely pleasant and welcoming it is, you start to question all the other mental obstacles you’ve built up to attempting new things. It unlocks doors.
Sometimes you just have to forget trying bringing folks into 2022 because they have fixed beliefs about what a traditional walker is and have outdated morals. However, many individuals are merely pleased to see you in the countryside. Why would they not want you to love it if they do?
The words “hiking” and “endurance” make it sound like you have to climb Mount Everest, but it’s just walking.
Many people are turned off by the vocabulary of hiking and the outdoors, such as endurance and demanding, because it implies that you must ascend Everest when in reality it is just strolling. Coastal walks are a good place to start if you’re looking for a location. You can’t go lost because they are all marked with signs and only lead in one direction. Consider visiting a nearby reservoir instead; they typically offer level terrain and benches for resting. Because the Peak District is so accessible, I truly love it. A train runs between Manchester and Sheffield and makes stops in all the adorable small towns along the way. You have a variety of hikes to choose from.
A really fantastic location to find others who share your interests is social media. Find relevant hashtags; for me, it means phrases like #diversifytheoutdoors. Finding a community relieves some of your stress. They will instruct you on what to do and when to arrive. Do invest on the proper gear, including good walking boots and a waterproof coat because the English weather isn’t particularly kind to us. Bring lots of food and water with you. Enjoy it as well. Do not overthink it.
Check the route in advance if you wish to be the group leader. Along with Google Maps, I also use OS Maps, Komoot, and AllTrails. When you veer off course, they let you know. However, if you’re utilizing apps, be sure to bring a power bank and keep in mind that signal won’t always be available.
Seek assistance from nonprofit organizations if you wish to create a more formal group. I handled BGH in reverse in every way. Only now are we reviewing our governance. Simply create a social media profile and interact with users if all you want to do is arrange a meeting. People will find you, so the saying goes: “Your tribe will attract your tribe.”