RECRUITING FOR THE ARCTIC
Lucy is joining forces with Turgleder to take 8 people to the Arctic in 2019 for a 9 day expedition. 3 spaces left!
BACK ON THE RADIO
Back onto the radio to chat all things adventure, this time it was where Lucy grew up, BBC Radio Suffolk.
Catch it on BBC iPlayer or here:
More behind the scenes/to be revealed going on but what I can announce is my next expedition. I will be going to Tajikistan in July - August to climb Ismoil Somoni, a 7500m peak with three other team mates. Unforeseen circumstances and complications have mean I will no longer be joining the Highest Dinner Party on the North Col but I wish them all the luck and please still support them HERE.
It was a very busy month!
BBC Radio Scotland invited Lucy to feature on Out for the Weekend, presented by Fiona Stalker. Her interview is below with a gap between 12 min - 23.30. It then continues.
Lucy was also talking at schools with the theme 'MOUNTAINS' this month. With 100 8 and 9 year olds, the enthusiasm in the rooms could not have been higher!
Back to the Arctic
February was also the month for a super speedy expedition back to the Arctic. Done on the smallest budget possible (sleeping at airports and hitchhiking either side of the expedition were the norm). Lucy and KP joined forces once again after originally meeting in 2011 in Svalbard. The objective was simple: Get from point A to B as quickly as possible and have a giant dose of Arctic fix! The winds were high for the first half of the week making the temperature bitterly freezing!
There's also been a lot of things going on behind the scenes but more will be revealed in the upcoming months!
Women's Adventure Expo interviewed Lucy. See full interview here.
Lucy speaks at The Royal Geographic Society's Explore weekend delivering a talk about how to keep motivated on mountaineering expeditions.
Lucy is invited to take part in the World's Highest Dinner Party which will take place in April/May 2018 on the North Col of Everest at 7000m. https://www.everestdinner.co.uk/
Lucy returns from Alaska where her team of four set out to climb North America's highest peak - Denali (formally known as Mount McKinley). The expedition battled temperatures of below -40C, the coldest May recorded in decades. After being stuck in their tent for two weeks, the team had their summit bid and had success in getting half the team to the summit. Read blog post here
Love her Wild interviewed Lucy. See the interview here
24 year old Lucy Shepherd is no stranger to adventure. She has explored the Arctic, the Andes and the Amazon and has captained a team in one of the world’s toughest and most remote races in Patagonia. She has hiked the GR20 and took part in a solo 500-mile trek across Spain. When she is not adventuring, she is inspiring, educating and documenting.
Preparation for Denali continues in Scotland on Ben Nevis.
Training in the Alps followed by what was meant to be a 'mini expedition' to the Arctic... The expedition to the Arctic was to ski along the Russian Norway border. When Lucy's team mate fell sick, Lucy had to continue solo. More to follow soon.
Interview by Dan Aspel in WALK magazine. See online HERE.
Adventure Travel Magazine -
Hertfordshire Heroines interviewed Lucy : http://www.hertshiddenheroines.org.uk/explorer-lucy-shepherd/
EXPLORER LUCY SHEPHERD
We’re thrilled that 24 year old Hertfordshire explorer Lucy Shepherd has written a blog post for us about her career so far:
As much as I hate the title, I suppose the easiest way to describe myself would be an adventurer. It’s a rather show-offy title that I find cringe-worthy and somewhat overused in this age of social media but I’m afraid I use it for lack of a better word.
I don’t exactly fit the stereotypical adventurer persona. I’m 24 and blonde and often underestimated on my abilities in the extreme environments. This is despite having proven myself from the high altitude Bolivian mountains to the subzero temperatures of the Arctic, to the depths of the Amazon jungle. To name a few adventures, I’ve skied from North to South on the freezing Finnsmarkvidda Plateau in Arctic winter, lived with a tribe in the Amazon, left my job to walk hundreds of miles solo through the mountains of Spain and competed in the world toughest race (although that one didn’t quite go to plan as a result of an injury.)
Last year I was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical society, a title I hold fondly.
Adventures take planning, fundraising and a lot of hard work. I don’t do it to stand out from the crowd. I do it to be out in the wilds to feel alive and free to see where my limitations will take me.
I can’t say when the adventures started because it’s always been ingrained in me as a young, risk-taking child.
Scotland became my chosen place to explore as a child and then at age 15, I was treated to a 2-week adventure camp at Ridgway Adventure School in Sutherland where I first learnt the real meaning of the word expedition. These expeditions felt all too exciting and from then on all I wanted to do was go on challenging expeditions. So from then on, I found a way to make that happen.
Expeditions can’t help but change a person and it’s always for the good. They give me a boost for life, recharge my batteries and make me appreciate every little thing. Expeditions give me confidence in mankind and myself. I live for the now and love making the crucial decisions and having responsibilities that could mean life or death.
On a larger note, expeditions make me want to make others more aware of the fragility of our planet and the crisis that we are facing with climate change and mass extinction. It’s all too clear when you’re surrounded by nature every day the damage that we are causing from our western habits. Nowadays, the general public is far too detached from the world in which we came from which is deeply saddening not only because of the impact it is causing on the planet but also those very people are the ones missing out on the best thing about this Earth.
I’m only just getting started with the places I want to explore, the boundaries I want to push and the awareness and inspiration I want to create.
PhotoAid interviewed Lucy recently... See HERE or below
Muddy Boots & High Heels – Adventurer Lucy Shepherd
At PhotoAid our founder often gets asked the same question, “Aren’t you scared going out on your own, you’re a woman..” While one would have thought that view should have fallen into the dustbin of the Dark Ages, it seems the opinion prevails in some corners. We caught up with one young and beautiful woman who is doing it her way, throwing off pre-conception and inspiring the next generation of women adventurers, Lucy Shepherd. Using her illustrated blog as a vehicle to educate and facilitate communicating the message, not just of independence and courage but also to highlight environmental change.
1. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself, how you started taking part in expeditions and why? Can you include a little about how the expeditions have changed who you are as a person or how you approach life?
As much as I hate the title, I suppose the easiest way to describe myself would be an adventurer. It’s a rather show-offy title that I find cringe-worthy and overused in this age of social media but I’m afraid I use it with lack of a better word. Perhaps adventurer in training would work better as I in no way compare myself to the greats such as Ran Fiennes or Shackleton!!
I don’t exactly fit the stereotypical adventurer persona. I’m 23 and blonde and often underestimated on my abilities in the extreme environments. This is despite having proven myself from the high altitude Bolivian mountains to the sub zero temperatures of the Arctic to the depths of the Amazon jungle. I work in television developing both of my passions of adventure and film into a career.
I can’t say when the adventures started because it’s always been ingrained in me as a young, risk taking child. Scotland became my chosen place to explore as a child and then at age 15, I was treated to a 2 week adventure camp at Ridgway Adventure School in Sutherland where I first learnt the real meaning of the word expedition. These expeditions felt all too exciting and from then on all I wanted to do was go on challenging expeditions. So from then on, I found a way to make that happen.
Expeditions can’t help but change a person and it’s always for the good. They give me a boost for life, recharge my batteries and make me appreciate every little thing. Expeditions give me confidence in myself and mankind. I live for the now when on the adventures and love having to make crucial decisions and having responsibilities that could mean life or death. It makes me feel alive.
On a larger note, they’ve made me want to make others more aware of the fragility of our planet and the crisis that we are facing with climate change and mass extinction. It’s all too clear when you’re surrounded by nature every day the damage that we are causing from our western habits. Nowadays, the general public is far too detached from the world in which we came from which is deeply saddening not only because of the impact it is causing on the planet but also those very people are the ones missing out on the best thing about this Earth.
2. In your opinion, why do you think there aren’t more women adventurers and why might that be?
I can only speculate here. There are plenty of women adventurers but they tend to stick with one adventurous discipline such as sailing, climbing etc (and are incredibly good at that, don’t get me wrong). I tend to learn on the job and get stuck in to all kinds of adventurous areas which usually mean I start off not particularly A-class at any. I don’t mind this, I train in the area I will need for the next expedition and go from there. I’d rather be average at lots of things instead of world class at one.
In our papers and on our tv screens are numerous male adventurers. They have similar military backgrounds which I think make people feel that they need to be like them to learn the skills in order to be an adventurer.
Young girls are not encouraged to go out and play in the mud or climb trees when they get to a certain age. They are instead praised with ‘what a nice dress they have’. Girls who used to explore in their gardens end up inside playing with dolls because it is what is expected from them and their peers. It is also sadly seen as dangerous for a woman to go out on her own without the accompaniment of a male. In all of my experience of solo travelling and adventuring I have found that most people in this world are nice.
3. Tell us how you came about wanting to be a voice for women in adventure and expedition? What happened? As much detail as you can remember.
I had just got back from the Amazon jungle and had edited and put a video online. A lot of that video is of me talking at the camera as I was alone with a tribe and sought comfort in it. Shortly after posting the video, I received a comment from a teenage girl praising my honesty in the video. She went on to say how by seeing me struggling but pushing through, made her realise she could pursue similar challenges. It had occurred to her that she didn’t need to be the best, just have a strong mind and work hard to get where she wanted to be. She’d looked me up after watching the video and had discovered I do not compromise my girly side to be an adventurer – The other part of me likes to get dressed up, wine and dine in the city and wear high heels… Us girls can do both.
After reading her comment, it dawned on me that many young women, and older women, must have the same misconception of what a female adventurer must be like – I want to change that.
4. How are you creating the noise needed to make people wake up? What are your challenges?
I use social media a lot as I think everyone should if they want to reach a large audience. I write a blog with stand out moments and thoughts from my trips, which I hope gives an insight to my world and how it isn’t always easy. I film and photograph everything. These films and images really give a sense of what goes on during the expeditions.
I constantly try to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone but it’s hard to get people out of their rut if they don’t want to get out of it in the first place. The challenge when trying to make people more aware and knowledgeable about climate change is the fact that most don’t want to hear the problems. They want to shut their ears and stay in their bubble.
5. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I know he will squirm if I say him, but I’m going to anyway. Neil Laughton is a man who has taught be so much without realising it himself. Neil is a well-known adventurer and businessman who continues to make his dreams a reality. To top it all off, he is heavily involved with numerous charities.
Not long after meeting Neil, Neil invited me to join his team of 5 to reenact the Heroes of Telemark, operation Grouse expedition on the Hardangervidda plateau in Norway. Arctic conditions and long days of pulling pulks. He now says he saw a spark in my eye and believed I would be able to hold my own on the expedition, he had no way of knowing I’d be able to keep up with the other men but he took a chance. I did.
Neil inspires me because he continually makes goals for himself, has fun and creates opportunities for others. He has the ability to make you feel like you can do anything and that is such a talent.
6. Why do you think imagery is important? You use images actively on Instagram and social media to tell your story, how do you think this changes opinion, and why?
Images are incredible things when you think about it. They capture a moment in time and everything in that frame is saved forever. I have always loved to document adventures. I am not a perfectionist when it comes to uploading the best image; I prefer to just get it out there and let it contribute to my overall story. Before humans knew how to read, they used images to tell stories. Images were used to teach others about their ancestors. Images can still teach others in the way they used to. Social media cannot change opinions alone but they can contribute and hopefully teach.
6. Has there been somewhere you have travelled which touched your heart, either out of compassion or as a result of the environmental impact.
Svalbard is a place of mystical beauty. It was what I would call my first ‘extreme long haul’ expedition. I was there for 10 weeks and it changed me forever. I went with fifteen others with what is now called British Exploring.
To know that such a pristine place is in danger of forever dissappearing as we know it breaks my heart. It was after this expedition that on my return to normal life (I use that phrase loosely) I could not settle back and pretend that adventure wasn’t out there. I could not stop and ignore the changes to our climate. I had to continue exploring and see the beauty and extremities that this planet has to offer.
8. If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?
There are always so many places to go to. Now that mankind are exploring further than our planet, the list of possibilities is endless. Saying that though, I have got something in the pipeline coming up. Early stages but it will be incredibly exciting and what I believe to be a really worthwhile, challenging project.
The website is open! Welcome!
More to come over the next few months...
A spur of the moment trip to Iceland leads to a fantastic adventure for Lucy and her partner in crime, adventurer and photographer, Tim Taylor. Lucy and Tim were swimming out to icebergs, hiking up glaciers and climbing unnamed mountains with no other soul in sight.
Lucy heads to the mountains of Argentina to climb some high peaks. Out of contact, Lucy will be able to be tracked using SPOT TRACKER.
Suffolk adventurer sets off on ‘world’s toughest adventure race’
A former Suffolk schoolgirl turned adventurer has set off on what could be her biggest challenge to date – a 700 km pursuit across land and water, considered the world’s toughest race.
Lucy is become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. "It is an honour to have been awarded fellowship. The RGS is something I am so proud to be a part of. Without it's fantastic support I wouldn't have done nearly as much as I have. I urge everyone to become a member of the society and attend their fantastic talks - always worth it!"
2014 + 2015
A couple of years filled with adventure from the depths of the Amazon jungle to the beautiful mountains of Corsica to record breaking Arctic expeditions. Lucy couldn't sit still and was constantly scheming new expeditions.
Lucy becomes the first known British woman to complete the North to South Route of the Finnsmarkvidda Plateau in Arctic winter.
Mission Telemark 2013 style
Writers don’t do much, do they? It’s others who have the adventurous lives. This was brought home to Amanda Mitchison recently when she had the slightly eerie experience of speaking to someone who is, very nearly, a character out of one of her own novels. This might sound odd but she can explain.
A couple of years ago I wrote a children’s adventure story called Mission Telemark. The novel is based on true events - on the extraordinary exploits of some Norwegian agents who the Allies parachuted into the Telemark region of occupied Norway in the winter of 1942. They were bound on a secret sabotage mission to prevent Hitler from being able to making an atomic bomb.
Their adventure involved extreme feats of courage and endurance. The agents had to ski across the frozen, arctic wastes of the Hardanger mountain plateau. Then, after months living in a tiny wooden summer hut in the mountains and surviving off reindeer meat, they scaled cliffs by night and launched their attack on Vemork power station where ‘heavy water,’ an essential ingredient for making nuclear weapons, was being manufactured. The mission was successful - Hitler’s heavy water supplies were destroyed and, amazingly, no one was killed or seriously wounded.
This extraordinary raid gave me the bones for a wonderful adventure story. The setting also gave me the opportunity to be a bit nerdy about snow holes and different models of Second World guns and vintage spying aides, such as watches that were really compasses and dead rats stuffed with explosives. (During WW the British really did manufacture explosive rats).
But in order to make a satisfying read for children I also took some liberties with the real story. In particular, I included a girl in the mission. (Why should boys have all the adventures?) I made my girl character - she is called Ase - small, dark, fierce and incredibly fiery. She is also very brave and, being a competition gymnast, keeps ferociously fit. When confronted with a bear, she just does a back flip to discombobulate the animal.
Then, this week, an equally redoubtable but REAL female with a similar taste for adventure bounced into my life. I’ve been speaking to Lucy Shepherd, a film production student at York University, who was the only woman to take part in a trip earlier this year which retraced the route taken by the original Telemark heroes. The group, headed by ex SAS captain Neil Laughton, spent nine days skiing across the frozen Hardanger plateau and camping in minus 20 degrees centigrade. They were raising money for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust.
Lucy describes herself as ‘enthusiastic, tenacious and driven.’ She is tall and blond and doesn’t, of course, look at all like my Ase. But, just like my character, Lucy is extremely fit (she thinks nothing of running 10 miles around York) and enjoys physically arduous, high adrenalin experiences. She has skied exactly the same route that I wrote of in my novel. She has visited the same huts, and experienced the same cold. Of course, compared with the original Telemark heroes and my adventurers, some things have been easier and safer for Lucy and her companions - there aren’t German soldiers hunting them down and the group travelled with sat nav, ration packs, and avalanche probes.
But other elements of the journey have remained very much the same. For days and days Lucy lived in the same clothes, putting her boots (in her case just the boot liners) into her sleeping bag every night and peeing into bottles when it was too cold to go out.
On the journey Lucy tells me she heard the terrible bellowing sound of a lake of ice cracking beneath her, an experience Ase undergoes in my novel. Lucy also had to climb hills of soft snow pulling a sledge and feeling it trying to tug her back down the slope. She even tasted ‘reindeer moss’ –the semi-digested stomach contents of a dead reindeer which was a food the Telemark saboteurs relied upon for vitamin C.
Most people can’t describe the experience of eating reindeer moss without swearing, but Lucy just murmurs, ‘It’s like off cheese, or off yoghurt.’
I ask her what surprised her most about her trip. I’m expecting her to remark on the horribleness of having your nose run and turn into a mini glacier on your upper lip. Or maybe she will tell me about the about the awfulness of reconstituted food? But Lucy rises above the indignities of arctic living conditions. She says, ‘I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Cross country skiing in good weather is lovely.’
Next year Lucy is hoping to join an expedition to take wounded service men and women paramotoring (that means paragliding with an engine on your back ) from Mount Kenya to Mount Kilimanjaro.
Hats off to her.
Lucy heads to the Alps and completes the Haute Route with ease. During this year Lucy is at university in York keeping up expedition training but also heads to NEW YORK to work at HBO.
Arctic thrill for Lucy the adventurer
A SIXTH form student is preparing herself for the harsh realities of life in the Arctic after being hand-picked to go on a scientific expedition.
Lucy Shepherd, from Henham near Southwold, is one of a dozen budding adventurers who have been selected from 16 to 20-year-olds from across the country to take part in the trip to research the effects of global warming.
Henham woman to travel to the Arctic for climate change investigation
It is a gruelling landscape with mountains of snow, blistering winds and freezing temperatures.
But for two months one Suffolk woman will call it ‘home’ as she embarks on an Arctic expedition to carry out vital climate change research.
Lucy Shepherd, from Henham, near Beccles, will join a group of 10 other young people as they document the devastating effect global warming has on the island of Svalbard, north of Norway.