Mum and dog to step out on 500-mile walk

editorial image

A mum is set to scale new heights as she sets foot on her biggest-ever challenge - a 500-mile walk to raise awareness for mental health and the prevention of teen suicide in Harrogate.

Sarah Shearman, aged 46, of Sicklinghall, will be climbing the equivalent of two Mount Everests during her month-long trek around the whole of Yorkshire - from Harrogate to Haworth, Sheffield to Staithes.

As Founder of the I Choose Life (ICL) Foundation – newly launched to tackle an increasing issue in society and to support teens and young adults who are considering committing suicide - she hopes the walk will raise £10,000.

Setting off from Harrogate on Boxing Day, Sarah will hike up to 19 miles every day on her route spanning the North of England before returning to the town, somewhat windswept and footsore, on Saturday January 26.

She will be accompanied throughout her journey by her six-year-old husky dog, Yume, with friends, supporters and businesses joining her on different days en route to spur her on.

Sarah has turned to the expertise of Harrogate hiker Mike Brockhurst - founder and author of the acclaimed Walking Englishman website - to plot her unique route with a mix of easy, moderate, hard and strenuous walks.

With a cumulative ascent of over 16,000 metres - twice the height of Mount Everest - her daunting itinerary includes Tan Hill, home to the highest pub in the UK.

Her trek also takes in Monday January 21, dubbed Blue Monday for being officially classed the most depressing day of the whole year - but also a date to inspire people to take action, and make bold and positive life decisions.

Based in Harrogate, I Choose Life Foundation was launched by Sarah to provide support for anyone who is struggling with the constant challenges life can bring at all stages and ages of life.

Sarah said: “I very much understand that on some days, even getting out of bed can be a challenge - but I also know the value of doing it.

“I chose to walk throughout the Christmas and New Year period, when the weather can be draining, as some of us don’t have families to spend time with, and holidays can seem like the loneliest time.

“If anyone is struggling at this time of year, or just wants some peace and quiet, then I hope they will come out and walk and join us. Breathe in the country air, take in the incredible Yorkshire views, and maybe meet other people who just get it.”

The ICL team offers private and group sessions, and events to help build up positive momentum and offer people the chance to get back to enjoying life with other people who are on a similar journey.

Support or join the walk at www.ichooselifefoundation.com.