As a teen in Wellington, Emma was convinced she didn’t like camping, after going on school camps in less than waterproof tents. So it may seem a little surprising that she co-founded Adventure Queens, a women’s adventure community set up with the aim of ‘delicately smashing down’ the barriers that prevent women from heading off on adventures.
In July 2017, Emma and co-founder Anna McNuff began by organising 50 women around the UK to go wild camping as part of ‘Wild Night Out’ – a night under the stars with fellow wild women, led by a volunteer queen. Emma’s group of half a dozen or so women camped out in the Chilterns. “I hadn’t met them before but in a short space of time we were sharing and enjoying experiences with people who had recently been strangers.”
Now there are over 6,500 women in the Adventure Queens community with 33 local Queen groups in the UK and beyond. Throughout the year, four in-store workshops are held at Arc’teryx London and four campouts at wilderness campsites around the UK, supported by Kathmandu. Plus there is a £2,000 Adventure Queen grant to help send one woman off on her first big adventure. Last year’s winner, 55-year-old Sue Barrett ran, swam and cycled 1,500 miles along the spine of the Alps from Trieste to Monaco.
Emma says, “The focus is on getting women outdoors. Some members have grown up with the outdoors experience but don’t have others to go on adventures with. And some want to get into outdoor adventures but don’t know where to start.”