Ian’s getting back outdoors

Reaching a low point in anyone’s life is never a good thing, especially if you are a person who generally wears a smile 24/7.

I left the Royal Marines in 1989, after serving most of my career in 40 Commando and then a shorter spell in the Commando Logistic Regiment.

I was referred to Rock 2 Recovery by a friend after my mental health started to suffer, to compound the situation my marriage ended in divorce and I was made redundant, I think it is fair to say 2018 had not been the best year in my life.

However, I am a great believer that for every negative there is a positive, you sometimes have to find it. After three or four sessions with R2R I identified that I needed to change my direction in order to change my life, it would be easy to go back to what I had previously done, this was my ideal opportunity to get back to working outside, sharing old skills and learning new ones in an environment that I knew would bring out the best in me.

I was invited to attend a week with HighGround at Bicton College in Devon mid December 2018, I went with no preconceived ideas or agenda, just a totally open mind and open ears.

Right from the moment I arrived I was made to feel welcome by Anna, Chris and various other personalities from around the College Campus, the agenda identified a very full and exciting week ahead.

Each day was split down in to workshops averaging around 2 – 3 hours in length, each workshop was delivered by a subject matter expert who went in to great lengths to openly and honestly talk about their trade, each inviting questions and offering ideas of potential routes in to that particular business, some even offered volunteered work.

The great thing about the week was the realisation that the rural community offers many opportunities, some of the workshops we looked at were as follows;

Small holdings, Dairy Farming, Estate Management, Tree Surgery, Woodland Management, Bushcraft, RSPB, Brewing (always a favourite), Pig Farming Butchery and many more, we even had a workshop around CV writing and how to best sell yourself to future employers.

In summary, the HighGround experience has opened up doors I thought were shut forever, I am now pressing on with my ambition to become a Bushcraft and Survival Instructor, and I recently secured a role as a Camp Leader with the Bushcraft Company for the 2019 season.

My advice to anyone who is considering a life outdoors, pick up the phone, send an email and make that contact, it really can turn your life around.

A year ago today, I was on the bones of my backside, going through divorce, struggling to find somewhere to live and beginning a process of redundancy. I now have opportunities to take my life forward, do things I never thought were possible and carve a career for myself, be my own boss, and to top it all off, I have a beautiful new lady in my life.

Thanks to Anna and her HighGround team, R2R, and all those that gave their own time to support an amazing week.

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