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In June 2017, 4 colleagues and I set off to Grasmere in the Lake District for Mind Hike – The Lakes. I have seen people close to me affected by mental health problems and wanted to show my appreciation to the charity (with a 24 hour, 40 kilometre trek…). In addition, I have tried to support staff with their own issues – whether personal or removed – and I simply adore the Lake District.
On arrival, we sat and shared stories with a group of 30 or so individuals bearing their souls to strangers about what they have, or haven’t overcome in their lives; or the lives of their loved ones. I felt privileged to be in their company, determined to nail this challenge for them, and nervous about how I would manage the terrain whilst watching the British Lions in their 1st Test against the All Blacks.
After a sleepless night (8 in a dorm including the world’s loudest snorer – must be official), we set off at 8 am in perfect conditions. And as it was a 24 hour sponsored walk, it naturally became an eatathon – I was onto my first chocolate bar within 15 minutes…
The early hours of the morning were the most difficult. Delirium was mixed with feeling overcome with love for my family. At 4 am, I felt discombobulated, dizzy and terribly nauseous trying to wolf some porridge down. But we kept going, kept each other going – and when I got my (twenty) second wind at 6 am with the finish in sight; I was immensely proud of myself, my colleagues and my new friends as we did the final 2 hours with a real spring in our step. Champagne (at 8am) has neither felt sweeter nor more emotional. And the journey back from Windermere? It went by in a flash. I suspected I snored as loudly on that journey as my roommate had 36 hours before…
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