Why don’t you introduce yourselves to us?
I’m Athena, the founder of Ramble Guides. I’m a 24-year old Yorkshire girl currently basing myself in Manchester, England. Ramble Guides is a new website – launched in April this year – dedicated to outdoor travel guides in the UK, designed for the modern explorer. The ethos behind Ramble is a simple, sleek design with a carefully curated list of locations for each National Park or wild space, giving readers the key information needed but leaving it open for you to do your own exploring; to get lost and discover new places.
The idea for Ramble came about following a year of travel, after being constantly on the move in the hills of New Zealand, the deserts of Utah and beside the ocean on the West Coast of America. When I returned to my home in Yorkshire, England, I was left with a yearning to be back out exploring in nature. So at every opportunity, I loaded my car or packed a backpack and headed out to discover parts of the UK I’d never seen before. In doing so, I identified a real gap in the market for a travel guide or website designed for what I call the ‘modern explorer’ – for you or me who wants a weekend away in the country; a good walk, a cosy pub, a few viewpoints and a scenic campground. So I started writing one myself!
Where did Ramble Guides start?
If you want a location for where the idea for Ramble Guides came about, I would probably say the Peak District. Walking and being outside, for me, is the time when I feel most creative and inspired. I think it was on a combination of walks in the Peaks – either alone or with a friend – that the idea was formed, and then the finer details followed.
Who do you consider, and what do you consider the modern explorer to be?
From an age perspective, the modern explorer is probably between the ages of 20 and 35; post-adolescence, pre-family. It is for young couples and groups of friends, for the solo traveller, the photographer and the person wishing to escape city-life for a weekend. A lot of outdoor travel guides are designed for families with children, retired couples or avid walkers. I wanted to create something designed for the person who wants to do a day-walk then go to the pub, or visit a viewpoint then head to a scenic campground for the night. The modern explorer wants to go somewhere wild and remote, but may also want to know which cafe has good coffee and wifi…
What are your favourite places to ‘ramble’? Tell us about how you decide on where to go next?
As I’m based in Manchester, I usually head to the Peak District if I’m yearning an escape for the day. I love the gritstone peaks and wild moors of heather. The Peaks feel like home somehow. If I have a little more time, I’ll head up to the Lakes. The first time I visited the Langdale Valley I was completely blown away. I love camping in the National Trust campground up there with my dog and wandering onto the hills that surround Blea Tarn for sunset.
At the moment I’m trying to visit as many new places as I can. I use Instagram a lot for inspiration. I saw a photo from Pen y Fan recently and decided I had to go to the Brecon Beacons. Unfortunately, the day I went the summit was completely covered in a cloud, so there was no view at all! It was still amazing though. The next place I’m dying to explore is Scotland. It looks so wild and remote up there, I can’t wait to go.
Would you be tempted to go outside of the UK?
At the moment I want to keep Ramble focused on the U.K. It gives the guides more of a niche and will hopefully keep the audience more focused and engaged. Someone asked me recently if I’d get bored of exploring just the UK, but there are so many places to discover, it will surely take a lifetime to visit it all!
I do love going abroad though. In the future I may consider creating a new section on the site for adventure/outdoor trips all over the world – perhaps in the ‘Journeys’ section, which is a space for contributors to share photos and writing from trips. I’m sure the site will develop and evolve a lot over the years; I have a lot of ideas!
What are your top 3 essential items for a good ramble?
A pair of comfy walking boots – lace them up and you know an adventure is coming. A backpack – my Millican Smith the Roll Pack is perfect for a day-trip. And a camera, or two… I have a Pentax MX 35mm film camera that I am in love with and I recently acquired a Canon 6D DSLR which I’ve been using for Ramble.
You have a beautifully curated website and social media – is it important for you to curate a lifestyle to accompany the ethos behind Ramble Guides?
The design of the website and Instagram for Ramble all fits with the sleek, simple and modern ethos that the modern explorer enjoys. There’s that idea that people these days will go to a location, pitch a tent at sunrise, take a photo for Instagram but not have actually stayed there or experienced the place. Every location, campground, walk etc. on Ramble has actually been experienced and enjoyed, I want to stress that a lot. In my personal life, nothing I do is merely ‘for the Instagram’. I do what I love and take photos along the way, it’s that simple!
What’s in the pipeline for Ramble Guides?
At the moment I’m working on a Yorkshire Dales guide and Brecon Beacons guide from the last couple of trips I’ve taken. I’m introducing a new section to the website as well that will include gear reviews, events and little snippets of news from the outdoor industry in the UK. Within the next year, I’d love to publish my first guide in print form. There’s something special about having an actual, physical book to hold. It’s been a dream of mine ever since I can remember to create one!
To find out more about Ramble Guides and how to get out into the countryside, go to ramble-guides.com and visit their Instagram @ramble.guides