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The mountains are a powerful place, and they can have a huge impact on a persons mental well-being. Spending time in the outdoors can help to reduce the chance of depression by 30%*

Now, more than ever, the mountains have become a place of solitude, calm and reflection for so many. This doesn't, however, change how challenging and dangerous the mountain environment is.

The Summit Fit Academy is offering a free place on our Hill Skills course to ten people who have, in one way or another, been touched by mental health on the 29th of March in Snowdonia. During the course, we will look at the skills needed to safely explore our mountain wildernesses, especially when looking to them for refuge.

As well as a day spent learning these all-important mountain skills, each participant will receive a bundle of Summit Fit equipment to help them on their journey to the hills.

To be a part of this, we want to hear your stories. We want to hear why being a part of this journey, and the mountains, matter for you.

Applications will close on the 26th of January, and participants will be notified on the 2nd of February.

As well as spending the day learning the skills needed to safely explore the mountains, we will be joined by Harrison Ward, someone who has seen first hand the benefits of mountains with mental health.

"After moving to York for university and working in a pub, Harrison Ward's life spiralled out of control.

He was drinking about 20 pints a day and weighed 22 stone as alcohol had become the main ingredient in his life.

Now 28 and three years sober, he lives in Ambleside and shares his experiences on his Instagram page, combining his newfound love of fell-walking with his lifelong passion for cooking." - BBC News

Photo by @danieljtoal

Also joining us on the walk will be army veteran @itsmrrush or Steve, who has felt first hand the effects of mountains on mental health.

"My journey over the past 5 years has been somewhat an experience, having been discharged 10 years into what I had hoped a life long career, numerous physical and mental hurdles including three reconstructive surgeries, it’s been a challenge.


However, My positive somewhat stubborn can-do attitude has got me from potential homelessness, suicide, jail as is, unfortunately, a route for many in similar situations to climbing mountains which only a few years ago would seem impossible, well at least that’s what the surgeons said!


This is why I want to dedicate the next year to help those that helped me" - Steve Rush - Instagram

We will also be joined by armed policeman, and high altitude mountaineer Jamie Ironmonger. Earlier this year Jamie attempted to Summit Everest, raising awareness for mental health issues, particularly within Emergency Services.

"It’s definitely not an easy career path to take in terms of specialising within the police. It carries huge responsibilities and consequences for your decision making and actions.


Your mental resilience has to be very strong to survive in this environment of continuous training, constant assessment and the realities of dealing with the most violent and determined of individuals in some very high-stress situations." Jamie Ironmonger

Safely enjoying the mountains means having the right gear. We want to help those on the course get started with a bundle of Summit Fit kit.

The equipment provided will be yours to keep after the event, and we hope it will go some way toward helping you enjoy the mountains for years to come.

Apply to join the Hill Skills day.
We will be taking photos and video throughout the day, and will be sharing them on social media both during and after the event.