Described by The Times newspaper as a 'serial castaway', Katie's adventures are inspired by escapism, a desire to get closer to nature and a will to explore with minimal environmental impact.
SOME OF KATIE'S ADVENTURES
#82ISLANDS (CURRENTLY PAUSED DUE TO COVID-19)
A mission to visit all 82 of Great Britain's largest islands, exploring their individual characters and learning how to leave as little impact as possible.
#82Islands is a challenge to visit all 82 of Great Britain's largest islands (every island over 5km square).
Inspired by a poster created by Ordnance Survey and the University of Sheffield, Katie will be visiting each island and learning more about its individual character. From rugged, rocky peaks to gently rolling meadows and sandy shores, each island has a different combination of geology, flora and fauna, history and culture that makes it completely unique.
On every island she will be completing four tasks; sleeping outdoors overnight in a bivvy bag, wild swimming, creating a piece of artwork and doing a beach clean or litter pick. The first three activities are immersive experiences that encourage the observation of a place; they're a gentle way to absorb and learn about the island. The fourth is about leaving somewhere 'better than you found it'. Living on the Isle of Skye, Katie is familiar with the pressures faced by fragile ecosystems when it comes to increased tourist numbers. Therefore, one of the main aims of #82Islands is to explore the idea of 'responsible visiting' and to encourage other visitors to slow down and be sensitive to the individual characteristics of each place. In talking to the local community, Katie will be learning how a visitor can be beneficial to both the local community and the surrounding environment.
The #82Islands challenge was sadly paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Katie will be returning to complete it when the risk to these vulnerable communities has lessened and it's safe to travel between islands again.
You can follow the adventure and find out more via Katie's blog here
EDEN, CHANNEL 4
12 months' living off-grid and without contact with the outside world on a remote peninsula on the Scottish North West Coast
Between March 2016 and March 2017 Katie took part in the off-grid reality television project, Eden. 24 adults with various different skills were placed on a 600 acre site on a remote Scottish peninsula and tasked with learning to live self sufficiently with no contact with the outside world. Over half the participants left within the first six months and Katie was one of only three women to complete the project (out of the 10 who finished the year). During her time there, Katie learned a range of skills such as shepherdessing, wood carving and butchery.
She also held creative classes and often cooked for fellow participants as well as building her own home, 'The Rabbit Hole', from natural materials and reclaimed timbers. The project struggled with the community breaking into factions as winter approached and the dystopian social dynamics were shown in the second, follow-up series, 'Eden: Paradise Lost'.
Katie says of the experience,
“People often ask how I feel about having taken part in Eden, was it awful? Was it fun? Do you regret it? In truth, it's too hard to sum up in just one sentence. 365 days is a really long time to be in such an extreme situation and we experienced every emotion possible whilst in there. It was magical, terrible, hilarious, tragic, exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. It wasn't easy and I've come out of it a different person, in both good and bad ways, but I don't regret taking part and I would jump at the chance to do it again."
Following the airing of 'Eden: Paradise Lost' Katie was invited to a number of radio and television interviews to talk about her experience. She has been interviewed in newspapers and magazines and she continues to talk about her involvement in the project with journalists and students studying the social dynamics of the show.
You can read more about Katie's personal experience via the Countryfile website HERE.
CASTAWAY ON THE SHIANT ISLES
40 days spent on the wild and uninhabited Shiant Isles with no human contact and only seabirds for company.
In spring 2018 Katie set off from the Isle of Lewis towards the Shiant Isles, a remote uninhabited archipelago of precipitous cliffs and windswept crags. Her challenge was to spend 40 days and 40 nights alone there, without human contact and with no company other than a few sheep and the thousands of nesting seabirds that flock there each summer to raise their chicks. Katie didn't take a tent, instead choosing to build a shelter from found materials including stone, turf and driftwood. She took basic food rations and supplemented them with foraged foods such as seaweed and nettles. The plan was to live alongside nature in as low an impact way as possible.
The Shiant Isles have a rich human history dating as far back as the Iron Age. It still bears the ruins of Viking settlements and was home to a small community until around 1650. After that, the population dwindled and last permanent residents left in 1901. It is thought that the earliest inhabitants were hermits or monks who used the natural isolation as a tool for connecting to God.
Now the Shiants are known as a significant site for a diverse range of species and scientists often visit during the summer months to record the puffins, guillemots, razorbills and other nesting seabirds.
Katie arrived on the islands on the 1st April and throughout her stay she was able to observe the adult birds arriving back to the island after spending winter at sea. Whilst there she wrote about her observations and made notes and illustrations of the behaviours and interactions with the animals she lived alongside. She describes her experience as 'profoundly spiritual' which later led her to research the notion of 'thin places': special locations where the barrier to the spiritual world feels thinner to the people who visit there.
Katie made camp on Garbh Eilean (Rough Island) in a small inlet next to the remains of various historic settlements, including two Iron Age round houses. She was also interested in exploring how her daily actions such as fetching water or washing in the sea probably followed the same patterns as the people there a hundred, five-hundred and even thousands of years ago.
Despite it being "A magical experience" the trip was not without problems. Halfway through Katie experienced two weeks of non-stop rain and violent sea winds. She also sustained a head injury and concussion that led her to having to leave the island temporarily to be admitted to hospital.
Because of the concussion she had to leave the Shiant Isles after only 38-39 days, not the 40 as planned.
She now often returns to the islands as a guest with their owner, Tom, and one day she hopes to re-do her castaway adventure to reach the full 40 days.
You can watch the video of this adventure HERE
We're proud to have Katie representing our brand. It’s a partnership based on a shared love of the outdoors and belief in nature. It’s a joy for us to support Katie in her work and inspire people to Go Nice Places Do Good Things.
David Hanney, Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Alpkit
She will get back to you as soon as possible.