I wrote an aspirational blog post in March where I talked about how you should take every opportunity to do something that you find exciting, inspiring or that nurtures your soul. It became the most popular thing I've written since I started The Peaklander and the response was more than I could have imagined. It wasn't long before I realised my hypocrisy; I was sat at home writing posts about how to live a better life while I'd been delaying walking the Pennine Way for years out of fear of failure. So, I decided I was going to stop making excuses and do it. Not only was I going to do it, I was going to do it the hard way - alone and with a tent on my back.
For those of you who don't know, the Pennine Way chases along the mountain tops along the rugged backbone of England and offers 268 miles of the finest upland walking in England.
While the goal of walking the Pennine Way is a personal one, I've been a supporter of Mountain Rescue England & Wales for a while and it seems to me that if I can raise a bit of money for them along the way, I should. I adore being in the great outdoors and their incredible work provides a safety net for so many people like me.
While the mountains can be inspiring, they can be equally treacherous. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you'll find Mountain Rescue recovering climbers from precipitous crags, reuniting lost walkers with their friends and ensuring injured and sick casualties are safely delivered into vital hospital care.
On top of that, they also regularly help search for missing children and vulnerable adults, on and off the hills, whilst administering sympathetic support to their families. They search river banks and swift water, and wade chest-deep through flooded urban streets aiding swimmers, kayakers and devastated homeowners.
All this whilst continuing to practise and hone their first aid skills, technical ropework, water rescue and search management, and maintaining their bases, equipment and vehicles – not to mention taking time to maintain their own fitness. Oh, and they’re all volunteers.
Please, if you can, support me and Mountain Rescue. I'll do my best to get to Kirk Yetholm without needing to call them.