Becky Stothard, teacher



I’m trying to join the mountain rescue.

A few summers ago I got talking to the mountain rescue at my son’s school fair. I hadn’t realised it was something that I could do. Even as I was chatting to the guy, I was like: Wow! But am I fit enough?

In my head Mountain Rescue were all hardcore fell-Running types. I suppose I’m more of a plodder. But Mountain Rescue’s not just for fell-runners.

They have trainee intakes in October and March. Unfortunately that October, I rolled over in bed and burst my hot water bottle.  I had 2nd degree burns over 5% of my body, mostly my arse. I still wanted to do the selection but the nurse told me off. I had to be a volunteer casualty.

By the next intake I had my bum-skin again but there was Covid. On the third intake I actually did the assessment!  I didn’t get in. My map skills were good, but now my leg was really sore and I was struggling on the steep ground. It turns out that I had plantar fasciatis. The rescue people wouldn’t call it a failed attempt: they said it could be a deferral.

I’m sticking around doing physio in the hope that it stops hurting again. Using the ball, stretching plantar tendons, heel raises and drops. Lunges…. the lunges really hurt. I spread them out throughout the day.

I have depression and sometimes it’s as though I’m wading through treacle. I know it’s ok to have down days but I give myself a critical monologue that I wouldn’t give to anyone else. I hate the idea that it may be unachievable. It’s hard to give one hundred per cent because I know that if I don’t, I can look back and go: ‘Well, that’s okay because I could easily have done it if only I’d been trying my best.’

Confidence isn’t a linear thing; it’s a wibbly-wobby line. Yesterday the weather was horrible mizzle and I was fed up with winter. They were singing ‘All I want for Christmas’ out on our street and I thought, ‘All I want is for you to…..!’

I don’t like false jollity; other people telling me to be happy.

I don’t like people telling me I can’t do stuff, either. That’s how I swam a mile last week. I faffed getting ready for ages and the friend I was swimming with said, ‘Well you’re not going to do a mile now.’

He knew what he was saying and it worked. Suddenly, I was like: ‘Right. I’m off.’ I swam another 48 lengths just to show him.

The Mountain Rescue team might be hard-core but they’re really nice. When I got deferred, I got a phone-call to say: ‘Don’t give up. We really do want you to join our team.’

Obviously they should have said: ‘Bet ya can’t do it.’

Anyway, I’m still trying. Even though I’m injured and struggling and depressed with Seasonal Affected Disorder, I’m going to focus on what I can do. The goal at the moment is just staying fit. I can’t do big walks yet with my tendons, so I’m going to make sure I hit at least 10000 steps a day. I’m concentrating on weight-training instead.

I find that it helps having targets, even arbitrary ones like walking so-many steps. I count my steps everyday and I do my physio.  Today I booked the gym in advance, so if I’d hadn’t gone I’d have regretted it.  If I arrange to meet a friend to run then I don’t want to let them down, but that’s tricky now with Covid.   So I tell myself:  ‘Come On!  If you want to get stronger then you have to work at it.  You won’t get any stronger unless you do.’  

My son plays ‘Eye of the Tiger’ to me at home for me to dance to.  That cheers me up.  And luckily for me, there’s always swimming.  I discovered cold-water swimming a few years ago now.  There will always, always be swimming.



On Helvellyn:  ” That was a bad day, but I thought, ‘I’ll think about climbing this hill right now and everything else can just wait.’ ”  


I wish could some up with some sort of happy climatic ending for this blog, but not yet. I want to join the mountain rescue; I want to give something back, to be there for people when they need someone. If I’m honest, there’s a bit of an ego kick involved with being that person.  I’m working on it.  But you could say it’s a triumph that I’m still here, keeping trying.   Pictures from Becky’s personal collection with thanks.  


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