Heading for Scotland’s mountains and hills is a common pursuit, as visitors can often be seen exploring them.
Some people come from all over the world to experience Ben Nevis, but there’s a group which aims to specifically get women into the great outdoors.
Girls on Hills is Scotland’s only guided trail and fell running company, designed specifically for women.
It was originally founded by Keri Wallace and Nancy Kennedy in 2018, to share their love of the great outdoors. The team now also comprises a number of qualified, experienced and local female guides.
They also offer navigation, hill-walking and mountain safety courses suitable for all abilities, and seek to equip women with the skills and confidence necessary to become independent in the mountain environment.
Keri said: ‘Girls on Hills is a rapidly expanding guided trail running company based in Glencoe, which offers running, hiking and mountain safety courses for women.
‘Whether you are new to running or seeking a new challenge, we can offer you wilderness and adventure in equal measure. We offer guided running, hiking and navigation courses throughout the year, in addition to bespoke guided days, allowing you to create your own adventure.
‘We offer coaching and teach mountain safety skills along the way, all the while allowing you to experience the tranquillity of our remote trails. Whether you are new to the mountains or are seeking a new challenge, we can offer you wilderness and adventure in equal measure.
‘Girls on Hills is the recommended and exclusive provider of recce events for Skyline Scotland and Ultra Trail Scotland. These events are open to both women and men, and are delivered by professionally qualified guides.’
Girls on Hills offer a variety of guided events in the Glencoe area, tailored to the experience and aspirations of the runners. While their courses are women-only, they offer bespoke guiding for both men and women.
Keri continued: ‘Whether you run for fitness, mindfulness, health reasons or to train for a big race, we want to show you what is possible.
‘Our guides are local and experienced runners, providing coaching in navigation, equipment, training, nutrition and safety for running in a remote environment.’
They also cover the summits.
Keri continued: ‘Whether you want to improve your fell running, try ridge running, recce a race route or just explore the mountains, we will show you how.
‘Fancy climbing a mountain but don’t know where to start? Girls on Hills offer guided hiking in the beautiful mountains of Glencoe. Despite the rugged and precipitous nature of the terrain in this area, there are several more amenable and accessible options which are ideally suited to individuals looking to climb a mountain for the first time, or for those not confident to hike alone.
‘We also offer beginners navigation courses. While our courses are women-only, we offer bespoke mountain guiding for both men and women. We use experienced local guides who are summer Mountain Leader qualified to take you to the top! We can’t guarantee the weather, but we can guarantee an adventure.’
Scottish Women’s-led start-ups the Gin Bothy and Girls on Hills have developed a collaboration for 2020 called ‘The Bothy Run’ which combines remote trail running in the Scottish Highlands, with rustic bothies and Scottish gin.
Keri added: ‘The innovative women-only initiative has been so popular that the courses have already filled in a matter of weeks – a second course was added after the first filled so quickly.
‘We believe this unusual event not only offers something uniquely Scottish but also empowers women through outdoor recreation.’
For further details, click HERE.
The founders know the terrain well and what runners and climbers are looking for.
Nancy Kennedy is is a hill runner with Lochaber AC and has lived in Glencoe for the past 30 years. Nancy works part-time at the Glencoe National Trust Visitor Centre in Glencoe, giving local walking advice. She has also been associated with Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team since 1989.
Nancy has competed in over 100 hill races in Scotland, and has also raced in other notable events such as the Sierre-Zinal alpine trail race, Snowdon race, Scafell race and has completed the Ben Nevis race six times.
She enjoys running all over the world, from the Alps to Yosemite, and this year she raced the Drei-Zinnen race in the Dolomites, Italy. Other interests include climbing, wild-swimming and walking the dog.
Keri is a fell runner, skyrunner, climber and writer. She is Summer Mountain Leader (SML) and Rock Climbing Instructor (RCI) qualified – and is a mother of two toddlers.
Keri completed her first mountain marathon in 2007 and has since gone on to win several of these races in various categories. She has been running and racing in the Scottish mountains for over a decade and lives in Glencoe.
Keri has a PhD in neurobiology from Cambridge University and works part-time as a running guide and freelance writer. Read more from Keri HERE.