Anna McNuff and Girlguiding join forces to encourage girls and young women to take on more adventures

2 February 2018

Inspirational adventurer and former GB rower and European medallist, Anna McNuff has been appointed as an official ambassador for the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, Girlguiding.

Anna, who was a member of Girlguiding, has a catalogue of extraordinary adventures under her belt including cycling 11,000 miles through all 50 states in the US and over 100,000 miles along the spine of the Andes, running 1,911 miles along New Zealand’s Te Araroa trail, and most recently completed a three month journey across Canada. She has supported the charity on numerous occasions and under her new role will help to continue to inspire and encourage more girls and young women to discover their full potential, learn new skills and have fun and adventure along the way.

Anna’s appointment comes as a thousand Guides and Senior Section members gear up for a chilly weekend at Girlguiding’s extreme winter camp Sparkle and Ice.

Ahead of the event, Anna has revealed her top five adventures to go on before the age of 25.

  1. Do a long distance cycle tour: There really is nothing quite like pushing off on two wheels with everything you need on a humble bicycle. There’s such a sense of liberation and freedom in two wheeled travel and cycle touring is a great way to explore - it allows you to cover long distances, and carry enough kit to keep you warm, dry and comfortable, plus it’s cheap and you finish each day glowing from all the fresh air! My favourite places to cycle tour are the USA, South America, the French Alps, Germany and our beloved Scotland and Wales.
  2. Hike one of the UK’s historic footpaths: It’s all very well and good seeing the world, but we have one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries right here on our doorstep. Explore your local urban footpath along a canal, my favourites are the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal path or the Grand Union. Take the time to do a multi-day hike along a long distance footpath like the Jurassic Coast, the Penine Way or Hadrian’s Wall, and you’ll fall in love with this precious country all over again.
  3. Visit somewhere which delivers culture shock: A huge part of adventure is the perspective it offers. I love visiting places where the landscapes, language and culture are so very different from the UK. It offers an extra nudge outside the comfort zone and reminds me that the way I see the world is just one way to view it. Places that offer some culture shock include; Bolivia, Cuba and India.
  4. Take to the seas! Never underestimate how amazing it is to see a country from a different perspective, namely the water. Spend a week on a sailing boat, or even better - get in the water and explore by wild swimming. Water travel will take you to some off the beaten track places, and lead you into little pockets of the planet that feel almost as if you have them entirely to yourself. My favourite places to explore by wild swimming are; The Dalmatian Coast (Croatia), The Greek Cyclades, The British Virgin Islands and the lakes and rivers of the UK.
  5. Visit New Zealand’s network of back country huts: New Zealand is an outdoor lovers paradise. Beaches, mountains, lush forests, alpine lakes - they have it all. Exploring the country by staying in their network of back country or wilderness huts is a great way to better understand the culture and the landscape, and to make sure you’ve got a fire to roast your marshmallows on in the evening too. If you can’t get to New Zealand just yet, you can always cut your teeth on the UK’s network of mountain bothies in the meantime.

Research published by YouGov this month found over half of women aged between 18-25 believe accomplishing a challenge makes them most joyful, meanwhile 47% said going on an adventure was the most joyful, and 41% said learning a new skill brought them the most joy.

Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey found 48% of girls (11-16) and 44% (17-21) often felt adventurous.

  • Half of girls aged 11-16 said spending time with friends made them feel positive.  22% of 17-21 year olds said being outdoors and 19% (11-16) said doing sport.
  • Nearly half of 11-16 year old girls said they often felt they could do anything if they tried compared to 40% of 17-21 year old girls.
Anna said: Providing the opportunity for girls and young women to have fun, challenge themselves, go on adventures and experience the great outdoors - whether trekking, abseiling or playing sport is so important for the development of confidence and resilience.
The opportunity to be able to push yourself and step outside of your comfort zone, not only positively shapes the mind-set,  but will help individuals identify their strengths and how to overcome adversity – a vital skill-set to be armed with in the future. And the best thing of all - adventure lets you be you, regardless of whatever else may be going on in your life.
These are all things the girls and young women will get to experience at Sparkle and Ice and by being a member of Girlguiding, which is why I’m so honoured to become an ambassador for the charity.”

The charity’s extreme winter camp, Sparkle and Ice will take place during the weekend of the 3 and 4 February across three of Girlguiding’s activity centres near Clitheroe, Lyndhurst and East Grinstead. The event supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will see hundreds of girls and young women battling biting temperatures as they rise to the challenge and throw themselves into fun and adventurous activities like abseiling, climbing and zip lining to keep warm. They will also have the opportunity to test their survival skills by making shelters and building fires.

Girlguiding Advocate  Katie-Rebecca, said: I’m so excited that Anna Mcnuff has come on board as a Girlguiding Ambassador. She is such an inspiration to myself and other girls across the Girlguiding network and I’m certain will bring even more fun, exciting opportunities and adventure to the charity!
Anna has an amazing enthusiasm for adventure, like many of the girls going to Sparkle and Ice who are daring to brave the cold, try new things and challenge themselves.”