Jess Martin and her Border terrier Toby are walking to raise awareness for the prevention of suicide among young people. She tells Wunderdog about the motivation and the first walk
#10mountains10months is the challenge myself and my friend Sophie have set ourselves for 2018.
We aim to raise as much awareness as possible for the prevention of young suicide, to do our bit in trying to dispel some of the stigma surrounding suicide and to encourage people to talk and seek help when they need it. We are supporting two charities: PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) and CALM (Campaign against living miserably).
Both myself and my friend have sadly experienced the loss of a loved one due to suicide, I lost my brother, and Sophie lost one of her close friends. We both took part in fundraising challenges in 2017: my parents, Toby and I walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks in memory of my brother Phil on what would have been his 27th birthday, and Sophie and a group of friends did a sponsored walk up Scafell Pike in memory of Rob. This year, we wanted to band together to do something bigger and with a wider impact, and so #10mountains10months was born!
We made a list of 10 peaks in our surrounding area and placed them in order of height: the smallest first and gradually getting more difficult as the year goes on. The first peak was Mam Tor (1,696ft) in the High Peak near Castleton, Derbyshire. Mam Tor means ‘Mother Hill’, called this because of the frequent landslips that have resulted in many smaller hills surrounding it. Since this is a National Trust area, there is ample parking in the Mam Nick car park, located near Winnats Pass and Blue John Cavern.
The route we chose to walk was a fairly simple one: there are a few sections of steep up and a few rocky sections to negotiate where you need to watch your footing, but otherwise you are just following the path along the ridge. Some of the sections can be quite muddy so suitable footwear is a must.
From the back of the car park, head up the path that leads to the Trig Point. Once you are at the Trig Point, the path is fairly clear as there are paving slabs along the majority of the route. The path from the summit is undulating but easy enough to follow. There are a number of paths that lead off from the main path, which I have yet to explore.
There is livestock along the route, so for this walk Toby stayed on his lead most of the time. This is something to bear in mind if planning to try the route with your own adventure pup!
We walked approximately six miles in total – three miles out and then back. There are a number of other routes around Mam Tor for those who prefer a circular route, although the benefit of the linear route is that it’s hard to get lost, and as it was especially foggy at the beginning of the walk.
There are a number of lovely dog friendly pubs in Castleton, which is a short drive from Mam Nick Car Park. We decided to stop at The Castle, which has great food with lots of choice as well as an open fire. An amazing treat after being out walking in the cold.