Adrian Trendall, 56

The old Camasunary bothy, Isle of Skye

The old Camasunary bothy, Isle of Skye

“Mountains have always kept me sane, my refuge from an unkind world”

In 2015, I was in a black hole. My own personal great depression. I’d been made redundant, but had been depressed prior to that. Mountains have always kept me sane. They’ve been my refuge from an unkind world, a source of solace, of inspiration.

It’s not just the harsh beauty, but the sometimes mind-numbing physical effort required to achieve your goals. Hard-won goals bring their own rewards, but the intense workout blots out everything else as you focus on matters at hand.

In 2015 I spent a lot of time on the Isle of Skye. Camasunary bothy was a haven for me from the weather, the world and everything. Huge waves rolling into the bay, winds swirling past the windows. I roamed the beach for driftwood, hauling it back then using the blunt bow saw to cut it into fire-sized chunks. Life in the bothy was elemental. Water, earth, fire, wind. 

Mental illness has a stigma and is often not seen as a ‘proper’ illness. Gradually people are becoming more aware and sympathetic, but all too often those who suffer do so in silence, alone. I largely suffered in silence, but the outdoors was my salvation. Long, hard hill days kept the black dog at bay.

Money was always short and petrol ate up the largest share, especially if I was driving to Skye from my home in Devon. Frugal living meant long stays by the bridge at Glen Brittle, car parked up and tent off the road by the river. Food was always simple and I’d religiously stop in Fort William on the way to stock up on staples. Washing was usually a swim in the river or a high loch, but occasionally I’d splash out and stay on a campsite where I could shower and wash my clothes. 

People met and friends made were the icing on the cake. Classic long days out with like-minded folk helped keep me on track. Night times were bad, so activity forced sleep upon my hyperactive mind. Future trips were always being planned, bright lights to head towards.

10/10/16 is the day everything took a quantum leap for the better. Bridgette posted on ukclimbing.com looking for people to walk and climb with on Skye. We met in the car park outside the Sligachan Hotel, and got on like a house on fire. Two and a bit weeks flew past in a flash. All too soon Bridgette’s holiday was over and she was speeding south; but text messages, emails and phone calls spiralled out of control and we realised we felt the same thing for each other. 

Soon we were both living in Somerset, but planning the great escape. Again, luck came into play. Rachel and Donny wanted someone to run The Boat House in Sconser on Skye as a B&B. With few possessions but lots of positive vibes, we headed into the unknown. Adventure followed adventure, and just over two years after we met we were married.

We came to Skye with big hopes that have been more than fulfilled. Life is for living, and I urge people to get on and live it to the max. 

Oli Reed