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Supercharge your mind, body and soul

First of all, we’ve got to start with the magnificent minds behind Fellscapes. Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your background with fitness and mental wellbeing.

Well we’re both two people who met at Homeground Cafe in Windermere by sheer chance! Crossfit is a crazy community where you end up making and being friends simply because you both do the same sport. We had this in common and became friends pretty quickly. That being said…

Chelsea owns Fell CrossFit and is also studying a PHD. Having taught CF for a few years, Chelsea wanted to create a box that represented why she loves Crossfit and has succeeded in doing so. Fell CF is one of the most community-driven boxes in the area, consisting of a mixture of ages and abilities. It is a true representation of what CF stands for – to improve people’s fitness and their ability to live a longer and healthier independent life.

Oakley has worked for CF HQ for the last three years, having taught CF around the UK for many years before this. Working for CF HQ comprises travelling around the world each weekend to spread the message of CF, through teaching coaches. She coaches people on the foundations within the L1, looks to help coaches to improve their coaching abilities on the L2, and teaches adults how to run a successful kids’ programme via the L2 course. Besides this, she has competed at the CF Games, as part of Team JST (the first British team to get to the games back in 2017). She is now building her own CF gym on Wyresdale Park estate, to mix a love of fitness with the outdoors.

Fabulous Fellscapes! How did it come to life and what’s it all about?

Fellscapes was created through a coffee and dreaming session back in July, where Oakley had a very rough idea about wanting to offer a sanctuary away from everyday life for people who perhaps would never look to go beyond the usual yoga retreats. Chelsea then brought these ideas to life by sharing what she would offer, throwing some even greater suggestions into the mix. It’s safe to say that our first retreat in September left us terrified to even advertise (for fear of no one wanting to come) yet it sold out in five minutes! We couldn’t be more grateful!

Why the Lake District? What was it about the Lakes that inspired you to build this community here?

The lakes is our home. We chose to live in the Lakes because, out of all the places we’ve visited in the world, we have found nowhere as naturally beautiful or as welcoming as the Lake District. We want to share our home and the feelings of joy that it gives us, along with the little private spots that we’ve discovered, with others.

How have you incorporated the beautiful Lake District landscape into the Fellscapes experience?

Fellscapes focuses on pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, with the goal to quieten the little voice in your head that often tells you that you can’t do it, by proving to yourself that you can. This fits hand in hand with the open water swimming, something that plays a big part in our life due to the accessibility of beautiful Lakes we have here in our home. Our favourite walks and Fells give us the perfect opportunity to help people to get back into nature, to take a step away from the stresses of everyday life and become more present within the world.

How significant is the mental and emotional aspect of a Fellscapes experience? And why do you think mental wellbeing is so important to our overall health?

The mental aspect behind Fellscapes is our main contributor to deciding what we include in each retreat. We have both been through and exposed to certain situations in life that have forced ourselves to doubt our own abilities. The realisation through these scenarios and continuous personal development through trials and tribulations has allowed us to realise the importance of supporting people to realise their own potential. Throughout the Fellscapes experience, we conduct a mixture of physical and mental sessions, within a supportive atmosphere, aiming to leave people feeling confident in their own abilities and fired up to pursue whatever dreams they have in their heart. Our support doesn’t stop there. Fellscapes is just the start, but the connections and supportive group that you meet on the retreat are there for life.

So, I’ve just booked my 3-day Fellscapes retreat in the Lakes, what’s my typical itinerary going to look like and what are some of the highlights I’ll be looking forward to?

So your typical itinerary will certainly consist of some fitness (working out in and outside the gym/specialised gymnastic sessions/specialised weightlifting sessions), quiet time within your own mind (yin yoga/outdoor walking), personal development sessions, and activities to make you realise your own potential and control of your own mind. Our retreats alter each and every time, yet the goal stays the same. That goal is to provide you with a release from the stresses of everyday life, to give you the opportunity to slow down and do things that you may be wouldn’t always have time to do. There will of course be some wonderful food provided by Method Cafe too!

Wild Swimming and CrossFit on the fells – that seems pretty daunting! Is Fellscapes exclusively for the fit and fearless? Or can anybody get involved?

Wild swimming and CrossFit are universally scalable, they’re for everyone and anyone! Obviously, If you’d like to sit by a pool for three days, then Fellscapes likely isn’t for you. However, if you’d like to try something new, to spend time working on your own mental control and to do so in a fun and happy environment, then Fellscapes is certainly for you!

You’ve obviously had some fantastic feedback from the Fellscapes community, but what are some of the things people most frequently say they love most about their experience with Fellscapes?

Crazily enough people tend to comment on the wild swimming, an activity that made their personal development just work or ‘click’. The idea is to use this activity to see what you and your body needs. Outdoor swimming could mean a dip, a swim, or just a dunk! The idea is to listen to your thoughts, thoughts that are likely saying ‘you can’t do this, get out!’. By taking a breath, looking at your surroundings, and choosing to say to yourself  ‘I CAN do this’ (with some practice), you’ll prove to yourself that you can choose to control your thoughts, rather than letting them control you. This practice has left many people saying that wild swimming is a bucket list sort of item, something they never thought was possible!

And what are your favourite parts of the Lake District? Is there anywhere in particular that holds a special place in your heart?

For Chelsea, her favourite part is looking at the Langdales on a clear day, swimming from Millerground in Lake Winderemere and heading up on the Fells behind More Cafe. Oakley loves Rydal water, as wherever you seem to walk you find a new place, beautiful view, or epic climb. But you still can’t beat a Monday morning clear sky swim from Millerground!

And what are your plans for Fellscapes for the future?

Our plans are to continue to try to make our retreats more accessible and possible for even more people. Ideally, within 2020 we would love to run a retreat every other month in the Lake District, yet we do have some exciting news and up and going Fellscapes retreats for 2020. We have just announced our first and only Snow retreat of 2020, which will be held in Morzine in March, with only 6 places remaining after one day of opening the doors for booking your place. Our final exciting event for next year is a trip to Bali in July time. We finally are offering private and personalised retreats, which we hope will allow more people to come and experience the positivity that we aim to put into every Fellscapes event.

And finally, whilst we have the experts with us, could you share with us a few things we could be doing each day here in the Lake District, that will help us improve our mental and physical wellbeing

The most important thing that you can do to improve your health and wellbeing in the Lake District is to simply move, in whatever way makes you happy and sets your soul on fire! Try to feel no external pressure of thinking ‘I should be doing this’ a thought likely influenced by comparisons you make about what others are doing. So if you like to do CF then please go and do CF! If you love to go walking to clear your mind, then walk! Regardless of what it is, our only advice would be to continue to keep moving as this will look to improve or maintain your functional capacity, which is what we all want later in life.