I’ve been at George Fisher for five months as a member of staff, but the store has been part of my life for over 25 years. A visit was an essential part of our annual holidays to the Lake District (easily justified as a suitable, indeed perfectly sensible wet weather activity). Worryingly often, I’d wander out of the store holding a green carrier bag containing a new purchase (actually that’s still happening now, more often than should be reasonably possible) and thinking how great it would be if we could live in Cumbria all the time, and I could work at George Fisher a few days a week.
Fast forward 25 years and here I am, an escapee banker (and Southerner, an Essex girl in fact but I don’t tell many people that), grateful to be finally living here and loving being surrounded at work by the latest and best outdoor gear. The path I’ve followed hasn’t been the most direct one; I previously worked in retail, telephone and latterly investment banking in the City as a programme manager on a variety of customer service, IT and business projects. After moving to Cumbria I washed some of the banking off by working for a couple of charities who do amazing work in both the local and wider community; the Northern Fells Group in the ‘Back o’ Skiddaw’ area, and then Cumbria Community Foundation, where I was privileged to have helped in a small way with the 2015 Flood Appeal.
Now I’m here, I’m enjoying learning about gear, and gaining more expertise. I did think I had a bit of a clue before I started, but very quickly put myself right on that one. Technology and fabrics in particular are constantly evolving, and the correct use of Leki walking poles and the benefits derived therefrom has been particularly revelatory. I’ve taken heed of our wise training man Mark Wright, and I no longer ‘do’ hills, I just try to get out and enjoy the day, with the overall, not very challenging idea of walking a book of Wainwrights a year to make sure that I do, in fact, get out. And the closest I’ve got to numbers recently has been helping to count in the finishers at the Fellside FRA race.
I’m also aiming to improve my open water swimming technique (incorrect leg kick and wetsuit buoyancy have combined to create an ungainly, minimum-propulsion stroke - the ‘freestyle earwig’). My husband completed the Montane Lakeland 100 in July, and colleagues have offered to go swimming with me, so lack of time / training partners is no longer an excuse.
It’s great to be part of a team who are so enthusiastic about the outdoors and generous with their knowledge and expertise to customers and colleagues alike.