On July 23rd 2017 I completed my biggest journey yet and raised over £25,271 for mental health charity Young Minds UK. Climbing to the highest point of all 100 UK counties in 72 days, with 48 ceremonial counties in England, 13 historic counties in Wales, 6 in Northern Ireland and 33 historic counties in Scotland.
4,782 miles on bike, 484 miles on foot, 8km by kayak, 383,871ft ascent, 13 times the height of Everest, and only 1 flat tyre…
#ClimbTheUK involved cycling between the highest points before walking up them (sometimes cycling to them directly) and even kayaking across to the Isle of Wight before mountain biking to its’ highest point! I was almost entirely human-powered barring any essential ferries.
Most of all, by touching every corner of the UK, the challenge gave the opportunity for people of all ages to get outside and take part, joining me to climb their own county high point, or perhaps their first mountain. Over 1,000 students were engaged through six talks at schools and events during the challenge. My daily updates not only show-cased the amazing opportunities for adventure and places we have in our home country, but shared an open account of mental health on a daily basis. This open-ness quite literally got people speaking about their mental health challenges; helping to reduce the stigma, one conversation at a time. The extreme physical nature of the challenge aimed to break down the idea that mental illness could be a sign of weakness – instead, talking about is the greatest sign of strength.