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Interview with former student Phil Lyon regarding his forthcoming Coast to Coast Challenge in May.

Words by Bradley Clark and Nathan Kelly (Year 11)
Photography by Niall Lea (Year 11)

Hello, could you start with an overview of what you are going to be doing?
Yeah, I’m walking 11 days from the West Coast of the Lake District, right across the country to the East Coast to just above Scarborough, a total of just short of 200 miles.

Wow, impressive! What’s inspired you to do this?
Ermm, I’ve always enjoyed walking in the Lake District, I’m always up there. The charity that I’m doing it for was a choice from personal experience, from going through a couple of problems 2 years back and it was something to challenge myself.

Fantastic! Do you think this might be the start of something, that you might go on and do more things like this to try and raise more money?
Yeah, I’ve done fundraising in the past but nothing to this extent! It’s normally a sort of 5k or 10k run. It’s something I want to raise more awareness for, as well as funds, so yeah to carry on would be great, I’m on target to hit the funds I want to.

That’s good. Do the funds get put to anything in particular or just helping the charity in general?
Just in general yeah, I’ve been in touch with a couple of people at Mind, a lot of the money goes towards supporting people with mental health issues that are across the board, be it depression, anxiety… right across the board really.

So, what’s your next move going to be? Have you anything planned after this?
Nothing planned yet, just get through this one!!!! Yeah I start the walk on May 13th, there is 10 days of walking with one rest day. Everyone suggested doing it across 14 days but I can only get 14 days off work, so I’ve got to fit my rests in and my travel into those 14 days as well, I’ve had to cram it in a bit!

So, do you think while doing it you are mentally challenging yourself to sort of push yourself further or do you feel you are just doing it to help others or is it personal or?
Very personal, that’s why I’ve chosen to do it, I’m doing the whole thing solo, there’s no one else walking it with me. So it’s very much a challenge, staying different places every night and meeting different people every night. For a solid 11 days there’s not going to be any interaction with people that I know, so it will be pushing me. I think part of the attraction to it, is it takes me away from everything and gives me time to think.

Is there a fear factor that you are doing it by yourself?
Yeah to an extent there is, if something goes wrong, there’s large sections of it which are really quiet and unwalked, I mean it’s a popular route in general but you get out of the Lake District and you are sort of walking in the middle of nowhere really. Then you hit the Pennines and then the Yorkshire Moors and it gets more built up towards the end.

Is there anything in it that’s sort of very dangerous to do or is it all relatively safe?
The route itself is relatively safe as long as obviously I’m sensible and stick to the routes that you know and I don’t get lost!! And I take enough supplies and stuff. Logistically that’s the challenge, in making sure I’ve got enough water, food, layers because I’ve got to carry everything that I’m going to use over that 11 days I’ve got to carry myself.

So, this isn’t your first fund raising event, have you done previous ones?
I have done previous ones but never raised for Mind, I’ve always picked something that’s relative to whatevers gone on in my past but this is definitely the biggest challenge and I’m very excited about it.

I hope its goes very successfully and I hope it raises a lot of money. Do you have a goal in your mind to exactly what you want to raise?
Initially I set it at £300 and I was absolutely blown away by the support and I hit £300 in just over 2 weeks! I’m currently at £550 after resetting my target to £750. If I can hit that, that would be brilliant! I’m sort of quietly hoping for closer to £1000 but there’s a couple of things I’m working on that are still maybes so it depends if they come off.

So, do you think that really drives you to try raise more money, is that the sort of thing that gets you to do things like this?
Yeah, I think had it not have been through personal experience there wouldn’t be the same drive to do it. I mean I really struggled to get help, when I had problems, the stigma attached to it, especially with being a guy with depression and anxiety problems, there’s not the same awareness at all about it and it’s a hard thing to sort of come out of and say, like yeah I did go through that and I still am to an extent, nowhere near how I was but if it helps someone else not experience it how I did then I’ll keep raising and keep going.

So, that’s one of the biggest things you are trying to achieve, to sort of try and remove the stigma from it completely?

That’s very good. We’ll end it there. Thanks a lot, we hope it goes really well for you.

Thank you.

Help Phil Lyon Raise Money for MIND
Help Phil Lyon Raise Money for MIND 'I'm trying to remove the stigma from mental health and create awareness for depression and anxiety issues'
Help Phil Lyon Raise Money for MIND I'm walking 11 days Coast to Coast, a total of nearly 200 miles, my biggest challenge yet!'