The Outdoorsing Club Leaders: Leanne Wrightson
by Zoe Allison on Dec 13, 2022
Road biking, yoga, bikepacking, scuba diving... Leanne Wrightson changed her career to become a full-time outdoor instructor and adventurer because of her passion for nature.
How has getting into nature enhanced your mental health?
“Changing my career to work in the outdoors has changed my life. I've always enjoyed nature; old trees, weird mushrooms, animals, the night sky, being wet and muddy. I genuinely feel calmer, happier and can think clearer when I'm outside. Learning to be able to push my boundaries and keep myself safe on solo trips has shown me how resilient, strong and capable I am. This has been a transferable skill into my daily life but mostly, it's taught me to slow down and enjoy the stillness.”
"There's a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." Linda Hogan
What has been your greatest Outdoorsing accomplishment?
“I've been very lucky and have enjoyed so many adventures: hiking in the Himalayas; scuba diving in Costa Rica; trekking in the rainforest in Borneo; and bikepacking in the Alps. But I think it would have to be my very first solo bikepacking wild camp trip in Dumfries and Galloway. I was nearly hypothermic but it truly shaped my life, built my confidence and I learned so much about myself, as well as about biking and camping in Winter. Foil blanket to the rescue!”
As you’re based in Scotland, what cycle routes would you recommend to see the best views?
“I'm absolutely in love with the Isle of Arran. I've been so many times and I'm still finding new things to see and do there. If you like long road climbs on a bike, craggy mountains, huge waterfalls and grey seals then it's the place for you... and definitely pop over to the Tibetan Monastery on the Holy Isle too. For somewhere on the mainland then I would recommend Arrochar, it's absolutely stunning. Bothies, mountains, water, lush forests and more mountains.”
What are your road cycling must-haves for women new to the sport?
“I learned the hard way by not wearing a chamois (padded cycling shorts) or having a women’s specific saddle. Funnily enough, you enjoy riding your bike more when it's not painful! There are so many options for saddles and chamois and it can be overwhelming but definitely worth spending some time on it. Finding the right saddle and chamois combination will be person specific, but there's a lot of research out there to help and I'm happy to assist too if I can.”
Where is top of your bucket list for your next Outdoorsing adventure?
“I'm just back from a bikepacking trip in the Italian and French Alps and I already cannot wait to do it again next year. But I also want to explore more that's closer to home in Scotland. I would love to do the Hebridean Way via bike and some shorter trips to Staffa, Isle of Skye, Harris... the Scottish Islands are sublime and I've not been to enough of them yet.”