Cumbria Crack

New Lake District outdoor adventure to support Cumbrians with mental illness

Skiddaw Bunkhouse – credit Emma Holland

“Mind Over Mountains” aims to harness the benefits of Lakeland fellwalking for managing mental and physical health during an outdoor experience weekend to ‘step back and return home more resilient and confident’.

Two free places will also be made available for Cumbrian residents who otherwise may not be able to benefit.

An inclusive group will walk two of the best-loved Lakeland fells, Skiddaw and Blencathra, whilst staying at the highest bunkhouse in the British Isles – YHA Skiddaw Bunkhouse, north of Keswick, and only accessible on foot.

The weekend will also include coaching, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and mindfulness workshops, talks and outdoor team activities aimed at developing mental resilience and confidence to boost mental well-being, in a supportive environment.

According to leading charity Mind, one in four people in the UK now experience a mental health condition each year [1]. A 2015 review found that people in Cumbria with mental illnesses were 3.3 times more likely to die before 75 than the rest of England. [2]

The inclusive weekend will be curated by Adventure Uncovered, an organisation with a purpose to ‘accelerate social and environmental awareness and change through responsible adventure.’

Local support has been provided by Blencathra Field Studies Centre in Threlkeld, who will educate the participants about the local environment, and Keswick-based Mountain Fuel, who will be donating sports nutrition products.

It will be led by record-breaking adventurer and mental health fundraiser Alex Staniforth, 22, who climbed all 100 UK county tops last year, including Scafell Pike in Cumbria, to raise money for the charity Young Minds UK.

Openly sharing his own struggle with depression, anxiety and eating disorders, Alex said: “Outdoor challenges have been the solution to my own mental illness, so I’m very excited to be working with Adventure Uncovered to help others harness the power of the outdoors for themselves. Mental illness can feel like an uphill battle but one I believe can be fought with uphill effort. We couldn’t have a better place for this than the stunning Lake District. I just hope it’s not raining!”

James Wight, Founder of Adventure Uncovered commented: “The Lake District in Cumbria is truly one of the world’s most stunning areas of natural beauty and the ideal setting for this special, new event. Led by a natural leader at only the age of 22, Alex and I are excited to offer free places to local residents to join an inclusive group of wonderful people, who will challenge themselves both mentally and physically throughout the weekend, and put their own minds over mountains.”

Another young adventurer, Oli Broadhead, will inspire the group of men and women from across the UK, with workshops led by Blencathra Field Studies Centre, Chris Spray and Mike Henshall.

Two free places are available for those permanently living in Cumbria, aged 18+ and currently unemployed or receiving Statutory Sick Pay. To apply please contact [email protected]

General places are limited to 20 on a first-come-first-served basis. To sign up or find more details, please visit:

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