Here at Ocean Vertical HQ we have some very exciting news, we are welcoming world-record breaking mountaineer and polar expeditioner Mollie Hughes to the team as a Director of OV.
Mollie will join forces with founders Adrian Boot and Stevie Boyle to help elevate Ocean Vertical to the next level over the coming years. We have a clear ambition to create ethical, accessible adventures across Scotland and we can’t wait for Mollie to join us on this journey.
To help you get to know Mollie a little better, we have asked her some questions below:
What will your role as Director of Ocean Vertical involve?
I am very excited to be joining Ocean Vertical and working alongside Stevie, Adrian and the rest of the team. They have created an incredibly strong foundation for the company with sustainability and passion for the natural world at the heart of everything we do. My role will be supporting Ocean Vertical’s marketing strategy including social media, partnerships and PR. I am also very much looking forward to sharing my love of the outdoors with our clients. This summer I am completing my ASI paddleboard instructor qualification and in the future my ML and winter ML.
What are your ambitions for Ocean Vertical?
Ocean Vertical has a huge amount of potential to grow as a business over the coming years and I feel very lucky to be a part of this journey. We are aiming to get more and more people to experience ethical adventure across Scotland and empower them to reap the rewards of immersing themselves in the mountains and ocean. We have ambitions to push our ethical business ethos to the next level and are aiming to become a Certified B Corporation, this is the highest standard of social and environmental accountability. My ambitions for Ocean Vertical also involve adding a few new products to our offering.
Firstly, corporate events, after a year of working from home employees are needing the outdoors more than ever. We are looking forward to designing a corporate events program focusing on using the outdoors to support employee’s well-being and mental health.
Secondly, over-seas expeditions have always been my passion and over the coming years I will be exploring how Ocean Vertical can run expeditions to far-flung mountain ranges and coastlines in the most sustainable way possible, watch this space! Joining Ocean Vertical as a director combines all my passions for the Scottish outdoors, sharing experiences with others and protecting the natural world. I can’t wait to get started!
Tell us a little bit about you and how you got here?
I grew up on the south coast of Devon in a place called Torbay, interestingly it is known as the English Rivera. It was a fun place to grow up and nice to have the beach on the doorstep so I learnt to surf and kayak from a young age. But it wasn’t a place I wanted to live for ever, so I moved to Bristol for a few years to study and then onto London.
When I was 24 I finally moved to Scotland and have been here ever since! I absolutely love it here, it has the perfect mix of beautiful mountains and an epic coastline as well as some very lovely people. In my spare time I love exploring this country and finding new spots for paddle boarding and surfing as well as climbing and mountaineering.
I work closely with Scouts Scotland www.scouts.scot and in December 2020 was honored to be asked to become the first female president of the organization. I am a motivational speaker with Speaker Buzz speakerbuzz.co.uk and often present to corporate and school audiences about my expeditions, I focus on resilience, controlling fear and mindset.
Tell us a little bit about your Mount Everest expeditions?
Mount Everest first caught my attention when I wrote my university dissertation about the psychology of climbers who attempt it. I interviewed 7 men who had all summited the mountain and explored their motivation, their ability to control fear and anxiety and the psychological pressure they faced. Just talking to these climbers, I was hooked and I quickly realized that I didn’t want to just write about this mountain, I wanted to attempt to climb it myself.
I spent 12 months training and sponsorship hunting for the climb and finally in April 2012 at the age of 21 I headed to the South Side of Mount Everest. After two months of acclimatization, crossing these terrifying crevasses and dealing with everything a big Everest expedition throws at you, I finally reached the summit alongside my Sherpa guide Lhakpa Wongchu on the 19th May 2012.
It took about 12 months after the first Everest expedition to even think about taking on another large-scale expedition and three years to get myself back to Mount Everest, but this time to climb the colder, windier and more technical northern route. I had a brilliant small team for this expedition, led by my friend and high-altitude guide Jon Gupta as well as Lila Tamang and once again my hero Lhakpa Wongchu Sherpa. On the 16th May 2017 we returned to the summit of Mount Everest and in doing so I became the youngest woman to summit the mountain from both sides at the age of 26 as well as the first English woman to achieve this feat.
Now, tell us about your Antarctica expedition?
Antarctica had held an allure over me for many years, this vast frozen continent was a place I couldn’t get out of my head. I spent over a year training and pulling together the sponsorship for the trip and in November 2019 I flew to Chile and then onto Antarctica. I would be taking on my biggest expedition to date, skiing from the edge of the Antarctic continent from a place called Hercules Inlet to the Geographical South Pole. The whole expedition would be just over 700 miles (1100km) and I wanted to complete this expedition solo, with no guides and no teammates. The expedition started badly, I was hit by a massive weather front and endured 8 days of complete whiteout as well as storm force winds and temperatures down to -45c with wind-chill. It was an incredibly tough start; I questioned everything, especially why on earth I was in Antarctica by myself. But after a few more days the weather improved dramatically, and I started to get a few more miles under my belt. When the sun finally shone down on me and all I could see was endless miles of snow in every direction, I began to fall in love with this epic continent. It is harsh and unwelcoming but an incredibly beautiful place to experience.
After 58 days of skiing, I finally made it to the Geographic South Pole on the 10th January 2020 and in doing so I became the youngest women to ski solo from the edge of the continent to the pole at the age of 29.
Check out Mollie’s website www.molliehughes.co.uk for more information on her epic expeditions and give her a follow on Instagram at @molliejhughes
Joining Ocean Vertical as a Director combines all my passions for the Scottish outdoors, sharing experiences with others and protecting the natural world. I can’t wait to get started!
Mollie Hughes | Edinburgh