My mind is constantly revolving around adventures. I love stories of journeys, the wind rushing around mountain tops as travellers brave the elements. Granted there is usually sword fighting and magic involved too, but the base of every story I love is that of the journey, and on March 27th that is exactly what I will embark on, a journey.
In a literal sense the idea of travelling at the speed of my own feet across 2650 miles is thrilling. Now I wouldn’t call myself an exercise fanatic, the idea of smashing personal bests does not appeal in the slightest, and don’t even mention running to me… I just really enjoy turtling along with everything I need on my back, just me and the wilderness – and I guess Ethan can come too. However, I do also plan on using these few months of walking as time to think.
I have been in education all my life – school, then uni, then straight into a post graduate degree – no ‘gap year’ of any sorts for me. So, I haven’t really had a chance to actually consider what I’d like to do with my time. I am hoping that the PCT will expose me to everything I lacked during the struggles of education: time, peace, exercise and confidence.
I want to challenge myself by my own terms, not by the somewhat convoluted regulations of academia. I envision walking the PCT as throwing myself out into the world and seeing what sticks. Who knows, maybe I won’t figure anything out but at least I’ll be out exploring in the wild!
I cannot think of a better playground than a good old block of wilderness. Ever since I was young, I’ve found myself drawn to wood and moorlands searching for any ounce of adventure I could get my hands on. I owe my love for the outdoors to my family and friends.
My dad would take my brother and I to Dartmoor – an expanse of barren and exposed landscape in the south-west – to march up the iconic granite topped hills known as ‘tors’ and camp by the wild waters of the upper river Plym. At least twice a year from a young age I was exposed to this harsh environment within which the Royal Marines train. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it made me tough, but I realize now that thanks to those trips I’ve become at home with trekking, navigating, and sleeping in those conditions.
Away from the moors, on home territory, my friends and I would take full advantage of the small woodland behind our houses. Dressed in full camo, we’d stalk dog walkers through the bushes and trees, in our minds evading capture by the enemy and their sniffer pooches. Once the wood became too familiar a territory, we started to venture out further afield eventually setting ourselves challenges within the New Forest – the most memorable being an epic fail of an overnight trek which got us hopelessly lost thanks to a gold compass that turned out not to point North.
Years on aged 24, I’m about to embark on an adventure of comparatively stupid proportions. Do I feel prepared? No, not really. Am I scared? Yeah, I’d say so, but it’s so easy to stay comfortable in life and enjoy the world through a screen. That fear, discomfort, and doubt alongside the sights, people, stories, and wildlife will fuel my experiences along the way and quite frankly, I’m absolutely stoked.
In 2018 Molly and Ethan both completed Masters by Research (MScR) degrees at the University of Exeter.
While at Exeter they jointly hosted the Scientists at Sea podcast speaking to marine researchers and collaborators about all aspects of the marine environment. In The Stingray Episode they talked about their own research working closely with Dr. Owen O’Shea at the Cape Eleuthera Insitute (CEI) in the Bahamas, to studying stingrays in the local waters. They looked at two data deficient species of stingray; the Southern Stingray, and the Caribbean Whiptail Ray. The main focus of the research was to investigate the rays’ diets.