This is a story from one of our customers, James. He got in touch with us about walking the coastline of Britain. He's fundraising for Mind.
I started on 3rd October, walking down to the coast at Caernarfon, North Wales, beginning the journey south.
I’ve already experienced all weathers, with driving rain and amber warning winds over Yr Eifl, to a blue bird morning, clouds below me in the Dyfi valley. The weight of my pack in the first days caused my hips to bruise and swell, and my feet are always sore. Each day has been its own challenge, and there are so many variables to contend with; the weather, terrain, distance, food and water, equipment or fatigue. Each day I never quite know where I will be sleeping.
I've met so many kind and generous people too, who have walked with me, fed me, housed me and washed my clothes - the Barmouth rowing club rowed me across the Mawddach estuary (How could I refuse?)! And people have been generous with their donations too, having raised over £2000 for Mind in my first three weeks. The support has been amazing, overwhelming.
Two years ago, I had a mental health scare. It’s hard to believe the terrible state I was in. I felt lost, like the path I was taking in life was not my own. I didn’t feel like myself, but I also didn’t recognise I was unwell.
I dedicated the following years to improving myself mentally, of which Mind was a part of that journey. It required a lot of self-care, and reprioritising the things I loved doing. It brought an old dream of walking the coast back into focus, one that started to feel possible.
Having told a close friend about my plan to walk the coast, she asked what I was running from. Another friend joked it was something she might do after a breakdown. My younger, doubting self wrote a poem about fell running with the line, ‘Am I running to, or away, in this migraine cloud of my mind?’ For the first time I felt I was running towards.
I wanted to breathe in the wild of this country for a year, feel it’s harsh winter and the beauty of its summer, to write about it, draw it, and to help preserve it by picking litter along the way. I wanted to give back to a charity that is there for all of us when we are struggling. The walk would encompass all the things that felt like me.
The journey has only just begun! You can follow me on Instagram, @write_errant, where you can also donate to my fundraising page, if you are able. Thankyou.