In June, I’m going to be walking up and down the ten highest peaks in the Lake District and the ten highest peaks in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Parks. Yes, that’s twenty mountains, all completed within twenty days.

I’ll be doing this to raise money for a great organisation, Mind Over Mountains.

This isn’t an organised event, I’ve planned all the routes and logistics myself. I’ll be sleeping in a tent at various campsites for three weeks, facing whatever delightful weather gets thrown at me and probably nursing a few blisters and sore knees along the way.

This challenge will cover a total distance of over 190km. I’ll be including the highest mountain in England , Scafell Pike, and the highest mountain in Wales, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), plus eighteen others. For those of you not familiar with those areas, that’s a LOT of ups and downs.

I’m not going to lie, I’m terrified.

"In the UK currently, 1 in 5 people have suicidal thoughts and 1 in 15 people attempt suicide."

So what possessed me to come up with such a silly idea? One evening last summer, I was out walking after a long day, and it occurred to me that in 2024 it’ll mark 20 years since I attempted suicide.

This isn’t something that many people know about me. Partly because it was a long time ago, but partly because there is a level of discomfort in owning and vocalizing that part of my life. Despite some progress, we still haven’t quite cracked normalising talking about mental health challenges in society. This has implications for how we treat, care for and support those who are having problems.

These days, whilst not immune from experiencing anxiety and depression, I know I am equipped with the tools and support to get through when times get tough. Many aren’t so lucky. In the UK currently, 1 in 5 people have suicidal thoughts and 1 in 15 people attempt suicide (MIND).

Depression and anxiety are sh*t. They are at times debilitating. They take effort and hard work to tackle. And sometimes, just when you think you are out of the woods, they bowl back in and knock you flat.

I feel incredibly grateful to have survived that period in my life. It was one of the most difficult challenges I will probably ever face.
The outdoors and connecting with nature through walking has played a huge part in how I look after my mental wellbeing. Which has led me to recognise how far I have come, and wanting to take on a different sort of challenge to help others who are having a hard time.

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Not only will walking up 20 mountains be out of my comfort zone, but so is talking about my own mental health struggles. I’ve often kept my experiences quiet as felt that I don’t want people to see me as weak. But the reality is that if you are reading this, then you or someone you know has probably experienced problems with your mental health. It’s taken me all these years to realise that our experiences make us stronger, and by talking about them, we can play an active role in changing the narrative about mental health.

DONATE NOW

I’d be delighted if you want to support me on this challenge. You can make a donation by scanning the QR code that will take you to my JustGiving page.

Your donations will help motivate and inspire me to drag myself up all those hills. But more importantly you will help fund opportunities for people struggling with mental health challenges to get therapeutic support in the outdoors.

Thank You
Laura x

P.s. You can follow the ups and downs of my training and the challenge on my Instagram.

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