Black Girls Hike are a great organisation. Founded in 2019 by Rhiane Fatinikun, BGH provides a safe space for Black women to explore the outdoors. They host group hikes in different areas of the country, outdoor activity days and training events. Their work challenges the status quo and the perception that Black people don’t exist in the countryside, and most importantly encourages more Black women to reconnect with nature.
This is something I’m really passionate about. Having grown up in rural West Cornwall, and spent a year living off-grid in the Scottish Highlands, I am super aware of how lucky I am to feel such a deep connection with the natural world. Getting outside is a huge part of my managing my health and wellbeing. It’s frustrating when people assume I’m from London or that I’m not a fan of camping or swimming (two things I love), simply because of the colour of my skin.
So, of course, I’ve been following BGH for some time and jumped at the chance to enter this competition!
It’s also great to be part of such a big name in outdoors media – The Great Outdoors – taking active steps to diversify their publication. I look forward to working with them more in the future.
The invitation was to write about a memorable time in the outdoors, or about what the outdoor means to you personally. I went for the latter, remembering the moment I saw a painting in a gallery that stopped me in my tracks – ‘My Mother Earth is Black Like Me’ by John Lyons. John is a poet and painter, born in Trinidad and this breathtaking piece (as part of an exhibition called No Colour Bar) stirred memories and emotions within me. It is a definite marker point on my journey to getting comfortable with my identity. This experience, along with memories of growing up in Cornwall and the year in Scotland, inspired the piece.
And.. here it is!
(This piece was originally published in the October issue of The Great Outdoors magazine, available to order HERE.)