This Is My Time | Jessie Leong On Her Outdoor Journey - Outdoors Magic

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This Is My Time | Jessie Leong On Her Outdoor Journey

Part one in our series exploring inspiring personal journeys into the outdoors

Head to the gritstone edge at Stanage in the Peak District on a sunny afternoon and there’s a good chance you’ll find Jessie there. The famous trad climbing spot is, after all, just a stone’s throw from her home in Sheffield. It’s a place that means a lot to her, she explains as we walk uphill along a heather-flanked path in the direction of the miles-long escarpment, its exposed side lit up by the early morning sun.

It was here in Yorkshire where Jessie got her first taste of climbing and the passion that was ignited has since taken her to rock faces around the world; to sea cliffs in Hong Kong, sharp ridges in the Dolomites and frozen waterfalls in Iceland. Her interest in photography developed alongside it and she’s now carved a career out of capturing adventures – whether that’s her own ones or those undertaken by others. 

Jessie sports the latest range of Keen hiking trainers

Stood at the base of the crag, Jessie pulls out a local guidebook called Eastern Grit, its pages worn and weathered from her countless visits here. She points out her route, a 10-metre high crack in the rock face and immediately she sets about sorting out her ropes and the various nuts and bolts hanging from her harness.

While she might spend most of her time in high places, It was actually in the flatlands of Essex that Jessie was born and raised; her interest in the outdoors was something that gradually took hold, fostered by her own curiosity and desire to roam.

“My parents are first generation Chinese, and for them the outdoors isn’t really somewhere you’d spend a lot of time in – not really somewhere you’d access as a place of leisure,” Jessie tells us. She’s gliding up the wall now feeling her way upwards with her fingers. At the top she disappears for a moment, then her head pops out over the edge, a full-faced smile beaming down at us. This is someone who looks right at home. Who is right at home.

Words: Will Renwick
Photos: Giles Dean
Video Production: Mike Brindley, Ryan Van Kesteren, Elena Demetriou, Jordan Tiernan

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