Wellness

What it takes to... bring diversity to the countryside

Rhiane Fatinikun, 33, a civil servant from Manchester, founded Black Girls Hike UK (@bgh_uk) to tackle discrimination and make friends while enjoying the outdoors
Photography: Getty Images

“Black Girls Hike challenges stereotypes and offers new possibilities”

Rhiane Fatinikun, Black girls hike UK

‘Inspired by the beautiful views on a trip to the Peak District, I decided to start hiking and set up an Instagram page inviting other Black women to join me. In March last year, 14 of us braved wet, windy weather to hike across the Pennines!’

Big strides
‘I wanted change, as there aren’t many Black faces in outdoor clothing ads.’

Win-win
‘I was shortlisted in the Boots Wellness Warrior category at the 2019 Women Of The Year Awards, and I’ve been nominated in the National Diversity Awards 2020. I’ve also won the support of outdoor brand Berghaus. They’ve given me hiking kit to lend to women who might be prevented from accessing the outdoors because of financial barriers. Plus, I’m raising money for BGH Healing Retreats. Fingers crossed!’

Rhiane Fatinikun, Black girls hike UK

‘The Focus on the disproportionate number of BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] deaths from Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our members’ wellbeing (we have a lot of key workers). So I started one-on-one walks as soon as lockdown initially eased. And we support each other through a WhatsApp group.’

Future plans
‘I’m looking forward to our network expanding, once we can safely get out as a group. Quite a few of our events have been rescheduled for 2021, and we’re also on the Equity Steering Group of the British Mountaineering Council, which highlights inequalities faced by under-represented people.’