Natural Highs group complete Scafell climb
On Saturday 28 July, members of the Compass Natural Highs group joined the Sheffield Alcohol Service and Peter Moore, fundraiser for the Hep C Trust, to tackle Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Natural Highs is a Compass programme that helps service users make the final break from treatment by engaging in outdoor pursuits and fitness activities.
The day got off to a rocky start when failing mobile phone signals scuppered the planned rendezvous at the foot of the peak. It was thanks only to a chance encounter that the group found each other and set off for the summit.
The campsite itself proved an inspiring place to be. Nestling at the foothills of the Lake District Mountains, it was recently voted one of the top ten beauty spots in Europe.
Fueled by a hearty stew, the group set off. The long climb was filled with conversation at service users and staff swapped tales of life, treatment and views on recovery.
Unfortunately, the poor weather meant that the group had to climb with fewer rests than planned to complete in time. One of the group’s first aiders, Jean the Natural Highs leader from Compass Scarborough who also doubled as chef with Virginia, had to provide help to those who had given it all but had to turn back.
The top of Scafell is a desolate place when visibility is poor but the sense of achievement in such harsh conditions was impossible to quash. The group held a minute’s silence for a recent drugs overdose victim and pilgrim stones were placed in personal memory.
As one group member said: “Imagine this. You have been struggling with your addiction for years, you have been defeated and deflated, let down, isolated and made to feel you are no good. Then you are encouraged and given hope by workers and peers that maybe you can beat this chain and ball that’s been holding you back. You reduce your script, come to the end of your treatment… then you climb one of the biggest mountains in the UK! What an achievement!”
Not all was lost for those who didn’t make it to the summit. They were comforted by news that 90% of the members of the public who attempted to climb that day did not reach the top. Plans are already being made for a second attempt.