Featured Image Credit: Brodie Hood
Over the course of the last year and a bit, many of us have found ourselves, not necessarily out of choice, branching out into new hobbies. Whether it’s been sourdough baking, getting into jigsaw puzzles, painting by numbers or foreign language film watching, there’s a sense that for many of us, this last year has been a voyage of discovery about who we are and what we’re into. It feels like, if nothing else, lockdown has given us the chance to reflect on what’s important to us.
“Hannah Barnes has arguably got more strings to her bow than the average human being”
Sponsored mountain bike athlete, Hydro Flask brand ambassador, adventurer, nurse, yoga instructor and soon-to-be mum Hannah Barnes has arguably got more strings to her bow than the average human being.
We caught up with her to find out more about what she’s been up to over the last 365 days, her life in the Highlands, how she’s got on working for the NHS in such an extraordinary year and how she balances the various passions in her life. We also chatted with Hannah about her plans for the future, and got the answer to the biggest question of all – hot drink or cold drink person?
What’s the last year been like for you? How have you been holding up?
Pretty much a year to this day the nation went into the first lockdown. Initially it was just for three weeks, so we wrote a big ‘to do’ list for around the house and garden to be as productive as possible whilst not being able to go anywhere.
Three weeks became two months, three months etc and we’ve been in and out of lockdown since. To be honest, I have really enjoyed this time at home. It’s the first time in 10 years I’ve had a whole summer at home (apart from a five day trip to the Alps for a race around Mt Blanc in-between lockdowns).
We have been really busy and productive at home, building raised vegetable beds, a greenhouse, lot’s of work and time in the garden, and we’ve also self built an extension to our home.
“It’s the first time in 10 years I’ve had a whole summer at home”
It’s been amazing to not travel and drive anywhere and do all our exercise from the house. The riding, running, skiing and wild swimming from the door has been great. We’ve got a new appreciation for home and the simplicity of not jumping in the car all the time has been so enjoyable. We used one tank of fuel in four months, which is pretty cool!
Once life returns to normal, or the ‘new normal’, there’s definitely a lot learned from this past year to take forwards. Mainly to keep life simple, enjoy the small things, put time and energy into the local community and friendships, reduce our impact as much as we can and really think twice about travel. Less is most often more.
Oh, and without forgetting to mention one crucial development during this past year, we’re expecting a baby! In April, life will suddenly be very different.
As a qualified nurse yourself, and with all the stresses put upon the profession this year, has adventure and escapism become an even more important outlet for you?
For sure. Just being outside in the quiet rugged wide-open mountain spaces, swimming in a river, pushing mentally and physically on a tough ride or run, or just the mindful tranquility of working in the garden, have all been even more key than ever to counter any time spent in the hospital.
Especially as hospital shifts are 12.5 hours long, with no time for fresh air in the day, the mind and body just craves the fresh air and endorphins. We have been really lucky that in the Highlands and the hospital I work in that the Covid cases have been low.
“It’s been really amazing seeing everyone pull together to do whatever is needed”
It’s been really amazing seeing everyone pull together to do whatever is needed, even members of the Mountain Rescue team will drive to the bigger hospital two hours away to pick up supplies for our community.
I haven’t been able to work in A&E since being pregnant, as A&E is considered a ‘Red’ / High Risk zone for Covid, and as the risks for pregnancy and Covid are unknown I’ve been advised against it by the department. I have missed the buzz and being part of the hospital team, but it’s also been nice to not have that extra stress.