It’s only a few more months until I jet off to Beijing to complete my trek along the Great Wall of China with the Mental Health Foundation! It’s exciting, but I’ll admit, raising the amount I need to even qualify has got me stressing. I need to raise a minimum of £2,500 by July to be able to go on the trek, so I need every penny you can spare! In preparation, I thought I’d take a little wander around the Lake District!

I’ll be kicking things into full gear properly in June, but for now, I’m just enjoying being able to get out for a leisurely stroll around some England’s most beautiful countryside.

Visiting the Lake District

If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the Lake District, put it on your bucket list immediately! I’m very lucky in that I live in a part of the UK where I have easy access to some of the most beautiful parts of this country. With Cheshire right outside my door, Derbyshire and the Peak District to my right and Cumbria/The Lake District 2 hours drive to the north.

When I was younger, we would always spend our weekends outside walking or visiting a country estate with vast sprawling gardens. I never appreciated it when I was a child being dragged around and forced to use my legs. These days, I relish the time to get away from my laptop and out of the house.

I like the fact that I’ll be walking around on the top of a giant hill with vast and spectacular views, with very limited phone signal. We are bombarded with so much information every single day that we need to take this time to take a breather and just live in the moment.

Walking to Grasmere from Ambleside

The walk itself was supposed to take around 2-3 hours from White Moss Common car park… it took us around 5 hours. In my defence though, I was stopping every five seconds just to take a picture. One of the biggest reasons I went to the Lakes was because I’d always longed to go and do some photography up there!

Armed with a DSLR, a Sony compact camera, my phone and a GoPro Hero 5, we set out on a circular walk towards Grasmere. As you’ll note in the video, my main motivation was having tea and cake once we reached the village, something that was warmly received once we finally got there!

Many people head to Ambleside as it’s a bigger village, but Grasmere holds just as much charm, not as many shops, but if you’re looking for a beautiful lake side view and a bit of canoeing, Grasmere is a lovely place to visit.

How is my training coming along?

Although I plan to get a good few more hikes in the Lake District under my belt, I haven’t started my intense hike training just yet, I’ve still got a month or two, but even just completing hikes every other week or every other 3 weeks has massively improved my stamina. Not to mention my amazing trainer Abby Carpenter from Gains 4 Girls, who has been putting up with my terrible excuses and lack of will power around food, to give me an awesome training plan to follow.

With Abby’s help, I’m working on making my body stronger rather than leaner, as I need all the help I can get to carry my rucksack over the 10 days of hiking that I’m going to have to do. It’s all well and good doing actual hikes as training, but to really prepare your body, you need to be making it stronger and more durable!

Why did I decide to hike for mental health?

Over the last few months, I’ve really felt the power of exercise over the mind, not just the body. Working out is so often seen as a way to tone and trim down our bodies, but it is rarely linked with looking after our minds. It’s only recently thanks to body-positive fitness influencers that we are starting to see the true benefits of working out.

I realised very early on that to ease my anxiety or stress, I should go for a walk. Leave my iPod behind and just walk without any excess noise clouding my brain. Walking has always had a way of calming me down and after discovering how other forms of exercise could help me balance my mood swings and depression, I wanted to combine the two to really make a statement and support a charity that has helped me a lot over the years.

Please remember to donate! The Mental Health Foundation picks up in the areas that the NHS falls flat on, but it can only continue to do that if they have the funds. We are very lucky to have the NHS in this country, however the mental health treatments and funding is shocking. That’s why we need amazing charities like this, to help support and reach out to those who need it most.