Hi there - I'm Gilly - illustrator, rock climber and wild swimmer. I
generally prefer to communicate through my drawings, but as you're here
to learn a little more about me, I best pull my finger out and write
My passions lie in the outdoors and encouraging others to find their
place in it. Originally from the North of Scotland, I take a lot of my
inspiration from my surroundings. I now live in the Lake District (where
a lot of friends joke I live in the lake), and am very partial to
barefoot wanderings, beautiful trees and meditation.
Having worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years, the outdoors
is as much my profession as it is my pastime. I am the co-founder of
Blue Mind Swim and a director of the Women's Trad Festival.
The Women's Trad Festival is a rock climbing community and festival
formed on the values of mental wellbeing, accessibility and
sustainability. It's in it's 5th year and in 2020 we launched a project
called "Climbers Like Me" - aimed to celebrate and champion the diverse
faces and voices within the climbing community.
I'm part of the team at Wonderful Wild Women in Cumbria, we aim to
inspire others to get outside and the community welcomes anyone of any
ability to give things a go be that running, biking, swimming or hiking.
Blue Mind Swim was inspired by my love of swimming over winter in
high up tarns and hunting for ice with a few hardy friends (not the most
common of 'hobbies'!). This takes the form of a bi-monthly session,
coaching and mentoring those keen to discover cold water skin (no
wetsuit) swimming and the benefits it has on mental wellbeing.
When it comes to drawing, illustrating people, the outdoors
environment and made-up creatures are my forte… Though I have been known
to draw brains for meditation publications, safety posters for
businesses, and bicycles. I love the variety of my work - just don't ask
me to draw a horse... I'm still hopeless!
Hopefully, that gives you a flavour of me. On this website, you'll
find plenty more - from BBC radio recordings to popular podcasts;
climbing and swimming films; the latest from the Women's Trad Festival;
articles I've written in a host of magazines and my illustrations.