I found myself hiking the mountains in the Lake District because I wanted to get fit and lose weight, take nice photos of the mountains and post comments with smileys at the end. WHAT A CROCK OF SH!T. I was stressed to the bone, ready to have a nervous breakdown.
I encourage anyone who’s ‘had enough’ to get into the outdoors, away from it all, and touch base with the REAL person inside.
22 years ago I had a stroke, a cerebral haemorrhage. Nobody told me that part of your brain dies so for the last two decades I was under the impression that I could live a normal life and so I pushed myself to achieve what normal people do. Actually, I didn’t want to do what normal people do, I wanted to be special. I pushed to achieve special things.
I have a successful business (a leader in my market), a second business (this one), as well as a wife and children who cuddle me, that’s success right there baby yes it is!
A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, brought on by trauma damn it. During the last 20 years I’ve had some pretty awful shit to deal with. Maybe I’ll talk about that when I see you. I spend lots of time in the mountains and the wild to escape the stress that trying to ‘live an extraordinary life’ brings.
In the mountains I have time to meditate, time to clear my head. Being with people on the fells shows me that we all have something to deal with. Some say they’re there just for the views, maybe they are, who am I to argue but for me, it’s what keeps me from having another stroke, a nervous breakdown or worse. It’s all good.
I’ve been married to Teresa for 14 years and have kids who cuddle me when I get home. Charlie is autistic and has been bery hard work, he’s the funniest person I know and he’s really taught me to understand the complications a ‘messed up’ world can bring for people, a reflection of my own struggles.
I run a front door restorations company, it’s also been tough but I love it. Escaping from the stresses of this is what got me into the mountains in the first place. I know what it’s like to need to escape.
Play time consists of hiking in the Lake District, the Wainwrights, wild camping in extreme places or just hanging out in the woods round a camp fire.
I made it a personal goal to be amazing at navigation so went out and got the NNAS Navigation Gold Award (in fact, I’m now a NNAS Course Provider). I can teach you all you need to know to get around the mountains of the Lake District safely and confidently, take you on a guided walk around the mines of Snowdon or take you out in the Scottish Highlands wild camping as I also have the Mountain Leader Award (and I’m properly insured as well).
Carrying a proper first aid kit and having gained the First Aid Award in Rescue & Emergency Care means there’s a better chance you’ll come back alive and well.
One of my long term hobbies is photography so I also teach Night Photography Workshops.
I’ve completed the 214 Wainwrights as well and have over 150 ‘Mountain Days’ logged so, you know, I’ve been around!