This BLOG is actually a review which I received following a trip to the Brecon Beacons back in September 2019. I wanted to share it with you to highlight what impact the great outdoors and nature can have on those who may be carrying a few problems that they're struggling to offload.
I had no idea what a dark place James was in when we left for Wales that morning. All I knew was that he was pretty handy with the camera and that he wanted to start hillwalking again.
This isn't about self promotion, this is a genuine article which I feel should be out there in the public domain. James has given his permission for me to publish it in the hope it may reach out to someone in need.
"I was lucky enough to be invited to attend one of Jon's Peaks and Trails walks, Pen Y Fan was the target.
Without wanting to bore you, I must say that this challenge came at an extremely low point of my life. I had accepted the invitation way before this point and when the time came, I was determined not to back out.
Morning broke and we met in a carpark in North Devon and drove in convoy. As we drew closer the WOW moments just kept coming, I was talking to myself as every new peak came into view. On seeing Pen Y Fan, the adrenalin kicked in. We parked up, kitted up and headed off.
Jon's way with the group is infectious, you can clearly see his relentless passion for what he does, he gives it his all and shares this energy with you every step of the way.
This is where my walk took a bit of a dark turn. Circa 4 miles in, I had a panic attack. The weight of the past few weeks came at me from nowhere and literally took me off my feet, I could not breathe.
Jon chatted and sat with me but I knew my body and mind could not go on.
However, upon getting back to the car, I had fully re-engaged myself, in fact I felt determined not to simply drive home. I looked over the map, I knew their route, I assessed the alternatives and I would head off counter clockwise until we met up. This I did, it was a slog but as they descended I watched them get closer and closer. It was lovely to see the group in such high spirits and they gave me quite a welcome!
I am telling you this in my review because it is simply down to Jon Barnett being the man he is that made me not want to give up. I haven't known him that long but I have seen him working his classes, chatted to him and got to know him.
If you are considering a walking trip, consider 'Peaks and Trails' with Jon and his gaggle of merry men and women. Great times, great people, great locations, great planning, fun and exercise and nights away.
Jon probably doesn't know it (until now), but he may have saved my life that day. Cheers Jon.
Walk for your mind and your mental wellbeing".
James didn't know how much emotional stress or strain he was under until it actually lifted in one massive go out on that hill in Wales.
I'd like to think that the change of surroundings, meeting new people, the challenge of a climbing a mountain all contributed to this huge offload.
As a result, he could think clearer, make better decisions and get back to being his old self.
James has since made a complete career change and is now mentoring young people to help them deal with their struggles. He uses his Brecon Beacons experience as an example of how nature and the outdoors can help reset the mind for a happier future.
All photographs courtesy of James!