It rained. The first outing of the summer ( well end of) when I didn’t pack my waterproofs or wear my boots or hiking trousers and it rained. Typical.

Helping to set up this Wayfinding project, Kirsty from Durham Wildlife Trust, knew all about what we’ve been doing with introducing BAME communities to be great outdoors. So when Kirsty moved onto the water vole project in Northumberland with Kielder Forest and Water she reached out to us to bring up a group to see what they’ve been up to and hopefully meet Ratty, as he’s been fondly nicknamed.

And it rained. And we didn’t see any water voles. But we still managed to have a good outing. The women were so pleased to get to Kielder as it’s a trek at the best of times. But if you don’t have your own transport or the finances to use other means of transport it’s like trying to get to the other side of the world. So we really appreciated the invitation as well as the walking tour of the maze and the salmon school on site also.

There’s something about enjoying a hot brew of coffee or tea in the open air. There’s a sense of freedom and peace when you’re out there with the elements but have some comforts. The women appreciated the brew as well as the sense of adventure. We turned into kids again as we ran around the maze and played Pooh sticks off the bridge into the river.

We collected mushrooms and berries as well as smiles and laughter. This was the first trip where 4 of the 6 members of the Black Women’s Leadership Programme were involved. It was just another event to bond as a group as well as practice our developing skills.

We hope to return to Kielder next year when we hope to see the water voles and enjoy the forest walks.