An innovative organisation funded by Help for Heroes that helps injured veterans on the road to recovery through mountain challenges is setting up a base in the Scottish Highlands.
Adventure Quest UK provides a therapeutic programme of rehabilitation for Veterans in the UK who have mental health conditions or injuries as a result of their service.
Based in Cannich, near Beauly, Inverness-shire, The Adventure Quest programme gives Veterans the opportunity to learn mountain skills, such as map reading, rope work, reading weather charts, and geology. Courses – ranging from three to six days - can be adapted for those with physical injuries, including amputees.
"The course has been specifically devised for people experiencing mental ill health and delivered by people who understand the difficulties that many face when leaving the Armed Forces.”Managing director Paul Lefever said: “We run courses in Wales and the Lake District but the Scottish Highlands are so much bigger and have so much more variety.
Up to 12 veterans, accompanied by an Adventure Quest leader, journey into the hills on foot, by bike or canoe for a few days at a time, learning bushcraft skills alongside coping strategies to help manage their mental health.
Those seeking employment have the opportunity to mentor new course participants and meet specialist recruitment organisations that can provide them with guidance and support in finding a job.
Ian, from Angus, was diagnosed with PTSD in 2011, and has benefitted so much from the trips that he is now doing his mountain leader qualification.
He said: “It’s been brilliant. The atmosphere is very relaxed. It gives me something to look forward to, I’ve got fitter, rediscovered my love of the mountains and made new friends. I've met like-minded people with a great sense of humour. We meet up and keep in touch between walks. It's one of the best things I’ve done and I can build my recovery around it.”
There are regular Introduction to Mountain Skills courses run from Cannich, Beauly in Inverness-shire. Get in touch with the team at Adventure Quest to find out more.