This issue we’d like to share the story of a BMC member Cat of her experiences and relationship between her mental health and the outdoors.


’m Cat Mackenzie, 18 and from the tiny north west peninsula Coigach, Scotland. My passion is in the outdoors; I love hiking, kayaking and camping but before lockdown started I was also getting into climbing. Now I don’t think I’d even be able to lift my own body weight. 2020 was going to be the best year yet for me, adventure-wise, I had applied and been accepted for a job in an adventure company in the South of France from April through to August, and had also planned to spend three weeks in June traveling to Sweden, hiking the first leg of the Kungsleden (King’s Trail) by myself. It was going to be my first proper long hike. Unfortunately the virus swept in and cancelled both of these plans though I took it upon myself to try and be content with the hills and wilderness around me at home.

I enjoy being at home and having the ability to still get out on the hills, do a bit of kayaking and even camping BUT I have found the last few months very difficult. My home life isn’t the best – I stay at my uncle’s house with my dad and I never stay for very long as I’ve found it’s not a good environment for my mental health. I have no friends here and after being so excited for the year I was supposed to have had I find myself often getting upset with the lack of things I’m able to do. My escape recently has been going away up the local hills and just sitting and marvelling at the views... wishing I was someplace else.

I’ve had an eating disorder (bulimia) from a very young age (10) and I find it really difficult a lot of the time to eat without feeling guilty or the need to go on a three-hour long walk etc.

Since lockdown I’ve found the isolation and being stuck at home has made this even worse and when I do go camping I’m seeing it as an excuse not to eat as nobody can see me. I don’t enjoy how the things that I would usually love and enjoy more than anything in the world are now the same things that I’m using in a more toxic manner.

I have better pictures of when I’m hiking but I took one while inside my tent the other night, wondering why I had chosen to spend the night in a midge infested and rain soaked tent rather than be at home... The answer I came up with was to escape.

I find that camping and being away even just for a few nights is therapy to me.



Summit is the magazine of the BMC (British Mountaineering Council). We work for climbers and walkers like you. Join us and get four issues a year.


177 - 179 Burton Road Manchester, M20 2BB Tel: 0161 445 6111 Fax: 0161 445 4500

President: Lynn Robinson CEO: Dave Turnbull Editor: Pete Burnside Assistant Editor: Alex Messenger Assistant Editor: Sarah Stirling


Warners Group Publications plc Advertising:

West Street, Bourne

Lincolnshire PE10 9PH Tel: 01778 391000

Hayley Comey 01778 392445 Design: Neil Arch Design Ad Design: Development Design

RISK & RESPONSIBILITY Climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. You should be aware of and accept these risks, and be responsible for your own actions and involvement. Views expressed within Summit are of the contributors, not necessarily the BMC.

Neither the BMC nor Warners Group Publications plc accept responsibility for any information supplied in adverts – take reasonable care when responding. 74 | CLIMB. WALK. JOIN.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76