My Mountains - Kate Worthington

Kate Worthington and her husband Ross run Raw Adventures together in North Wales. They teach hill, mountain and rock skills and offer a guided adventures. They founded the company in 2010 and live in the dramatic valley of Nant Peris, Snowdonia, with their 10-year-old daughter Libby and Nonny, their border collie.

Winter running in the Mamores  © Kate Worthington
Winter running in the Mamores
© Kate Worthington

Kate describes the journey to her current job as "very curvaceous". She says: "I worked my way through a school library, teacher training and primary school teaching, as well as an office manager and other administration positions in the private sector, retail and hospitality.

"Then a change in life direction sent me running to the Lake District for some solace, where I plunged myself into joining a Mountain Leader training course at Plas y Brenin.

"I met Ross on the same course. The rest is history and a journey that Ross and I have made together to facilitate a life spent living and working nearer to, and within, the mountains that make us feel alive every day."

Ross and Libby in Fisherfield  © Kate Worthington
Ross and Libby in Fisherfield
© Kate Worthington

Kate is proud of the opportunity to encourage and inspire other people to enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. She says: "I hope that people discover the personal freedom and achievement of being active outdoors, and gain confidence, a strong sense of self and improved mental well-being from walking in natural surroundings.

"There's so much we can learn about our natural world around us, and us as people within it, just by immersing ourselves in it just that little bit more. Also, it's magic and free!"

Kate is also a qualified Winter Mountain Leader and has a passion for running on high ground and competing in mountain races, such as the International Snowdon Race, Snowdonia Trail Marathon, Marathon Eryri and Ultra Trail Wales.

Kate and Dad on Striding Edge  © Kate Worthington
Kate and Dad on Striding Edge
© Kate Worthington

What is your first memory of walking in the hills?

My mum and dad were keen on the UK's mountains and they took me out. I can remember walking with my family, somewhere on a rocky path in the Lake District and with my dad holding my hand tightly over the "rocky bits". I was probably about three or four years old.

When did you realise you would be a keen life-long walker?

In my early teenage years. I already felt very comfortable in the hills and mountains of the UK and I was old enough then to be able to fast forward my life a little more in my imagination.

Do you prefer coast, hills, moorland or mountain ridges?

I prefer rugged mountain ridges, but ones that I can still walk and run easily. I will walk anywhere in nature and be pleased by it. There's so much variety to understand and appreciate.

Are you a fair weather or any-weather walker?

I can walk and run in any weather, unless it's so windy I can't stand up. Of course, if I have the choice I will prefer to be out when I'm not battling against the elements.

I do have to be out in less-than-ideal conditions with work commitments, so I can put up with most conditions quite well, but I will choose more favourable conditions for personal ventures on purpose. Who wouldn't?

When you're working on the hills, you've got to take whatever the weather throws at you  © Kate Worthington
When you're working on the hills, you've got to take whatever the weather throws at you
© Kate Worthington

What are your three all-time favourite hill or mountain walks, and why?

Yewbarrow in the Lake District. As a child, this mountain felt more easily assailable because it is short and direct with no false summits. I also found the views over to the "big ones" of Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Scafell beguiling.

Ballachulish Horseshoe in winter, Scottish Highlands. I recall a personal, solo walk in stunning conditions and the sense of achievement in planning my day out via bus journeys from Fort William. It all worked to plan, well, nearly, because I had to run off the hill in B3 boots to catch the bus back.

Elidir Fawr in Snowdonia. It's the mountain that rises behind my house and my eye is drawn up to it every day. The views from its summit to the massif of Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon and the Llanberis Pass and its rock architecture are impressive. It's a quiet peak and usually stands outwith summit cloud when other peaks around are capped.

Is the night-time a good time to go walking?

It can be. It's when the senses are heightened, skills are sharpened and on one of those unique, quiet, still, moonlit nights in mid summer, you may not even need a headtorch. I feel more alive walking at night.

Have you ever been lucky to escape a difficult situation in the mountains?

As a Mountain Leader, there have been many times where I've encountered emerging situations and difficulties to manage with people I am with on the hill with. However, recognition of these and putting in place strategies early on means that many ensuing "difficult situations" are avoided. If we've put in place good planning and management skills for our day out we avoid potentially tricky situations and good planning is critical.

On Stob Ban in the Mamores  © Kate Worthington
On Stob Ban in the Mamores
© Kate Worthington

Your perfect walking partner?

My dad for thoughtful, quiet walking. My husband for a shared love of being together in the hills and we don't get out enough together now. Nonny for being a consistently keen running partner.

Are you happy to go solo?

Yes – and sometimes it's a requirement to be solo because I must have the hill fix in my life.

Boots, trail shoes, wellies or barefoot?

Boots or fell running shoes dependent on my activity.

How do you navigate?

I use a map and compass and have the Viewranger app on my phone as an additional tool. The app is also used as a backup when running alone in places I'm familiar with.

What items are always in your walking rucksack or running pack?

Blizzard vest or personal survival bivvi if running; mobile phone with mapping (and battery charger if time out dictates); paper map and fluids.

What goes in your pack as a guilty secret?!

Mars Bar

Your favourite walking foods?

Salty cashew nuts/raisins; small cheeses; a cheese and coleslaw roll; and hot cross buns.

If you could only pick one area of Britain to walk in, where would it be?

I will always end up back in the Lake District at various points in my life.

What is your ultimate walking heaven?

I would like to walk all the Munros. This is partly to do with the experience of planning for and executing many walking opportunities in new areas. To do this in a continuous fashion would be such a treat. Maybe I'll get a six month or year sabbatical sometime!

Will you be walking until you are 103?

I will give it a good go!


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