Moving mountains

Liz Nicholls

Angelina Messenger tells us about her role as a mountain leader and her love for life in the Chilterns

When it comes to aspirations and living life to the full, it’s fair to say that Angelina Messenger sets high standards for herself.

The 47-year-old mum of twin boys who lives in Lane End has a degree in archaeology from Reading University (becoming a member of Mensa many years later), sails regularly at Maidenhead Sailing Club and is an experienced and qualified mountain leader and National Navigation Award Scheme provider.

“As a family, we all climb together at indoor walls and outside on the crags when we can get to them,” she says of her husband and boys, who have just started secondary school in Marlow. “My job and personal hobbies definitely merge into what would be considered mountaineering, but nothing on as grand a scale as Everest, yet…”

Angelina began walking and camping in the hills and mountains as a child growing up in Surrey and has felt the urge to explore ever since. “I later took up mountain biking and adventure racing, kayaking and climbing; I seem to have a never-ending need to try new things. I remember poring over maps, atlases and all things geography as a teenager.

“I love being outside in our beautiful countryside and mountains, and I’m passionate about improving wellbeing through that connection with the natural world.

“I also love sharing my experience and helping other people to achieve new skills and have amazing adventures.”

However adventure starts close to home and Angelina loves where she lives, especially the area around Maidensgrove for some wide open space on the common and its quaint villages… “I’d also pick St Mary the Virgin Church in Radnage,” she adds. “Built far back in the 12th century by the Knights Templar, the inside is always open and tranquil, and it has some fascinating wall paintings that span 600 years. And the views from the hills as you approach it are so picturesque.

“I often use Coffee on the Green in Stokenchurch to meet groups for navigation courses because it’s so well positioned for access from the motorway and the bus service, as well as offering great service and cake! I love the Chilterns’ rolling chalk hills with the special and unique species of plants and animals, the extensive walking network and the conservation work going on to protect our precious natural landscapes.”

This year Angelina is increasing the number of walks and courses she’s running locally, and is looking forward to welcoming people and local groups to gain skills and experience that lead them on to adventures beyond in other beautiful and remote upland areas of the UK.

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