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BMC MEMBERS BMC Stories


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.


I


’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.


@catmackenzie21


WE ARE SUMMIT


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.


EDITORIAL BMC


177 - 179 Burton Road Manchester, M20 2BB Tel: 0161 445 6111 Fax: 0161 445 4500 office@thebmc.co.uk www.thebmc.co.uk


President: Lynn Robinson CEO: Dave Turnbull Editor: Pete Burnside Assistant Editor: Alex Messenger Assistant Editor: Sarah Stirling summit@thebmc.co.uk


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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.


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