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Bennachie 28-day climb challenge completed by north-east woman

By Kyle Ritchie

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A north-east woman has conquered a charity challenge that saw her climb Bennachie every day for 28 days.

Emma Strathdee (38), who is originally from Inverurie and lives in Pitmedden, took on the feat to support and raise awareness of the mental health charity the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

It is a cause close to her heart as she has been dealing with mental health issues for a long time and went through a difficult period earlier this year.

However, she said the challenge has been beneficial to her recovery and raised nearly £3,700 for a charity that helps people dealing with the same problems.

She added: "The challenge was really good, every day I got up and looked forward to it and had different people joining me to keep me going.

"There were some tough climbs. There were three days when the snow and the wind were so bad I was climbing through blizzards.

"However, overall it was excellent, I met some really wonderful people and all the support I received was great."

Emma Strathdee at the top of Bennachie during her last climb with bagpiper Calum Lawrie and her dad Gordon Pratt.
Emma Strathdee at the top of Bennachie during her last climb with bagpiper Calum Lawrie and her dad Gordon Pratt.

Emma's fundraising total is sitting at £3620 and her Facebook page for donations will remain open for a couple of weeks for anyone who wishes to donate.

The money will support SAMH which works with adults and young people providing mental health social care support, services in primary care, schools and further education, among others.

These services together with its national programme work in See Me, respectme, suicide prevention and active living; inform its policy and campaign work to influence positive social change.

As well as tackling the climbs, throughout the challenge Emma has been highlighting on her Facebook page the help that is available for people with mental health issues.

She earlier said: "I've suffered from depression since I was in my early 20s and I had a bad time at the beginning of the year.

"I was really in the depths of despair and felt like there was no point going on.

"As I was getting better it hit me again, so this time the doctor said to me to try and get out and exercise.

"I thought to myself I need something to focus on and I decided to take on the challenge.

"Getting active has certainly been beneficial and has been the key."

On her Facebook page she focussed on a different issue during different days which included depression, mental health in young people or suicide.

She also outlined the support that SAMH can provide and highlighted it is there for people who are struggling.

She added: "I knew the only way I was going to help myself was to share my story and to reach out to help give a voice to all the silent souls that are battling with their own mental health."

Her first climb was on Monday, March 15 and she completed the challenge on Sunday, April 11.

Her target was to raise £1000 for the charity but she has managed to smash that.

Her last climb saw her piped by bagpiper Calum Lawrie and was supported by her family and friends.

She said: "I was piped up to the top and I had supporters waiting at the bottom of Bennachie for when I came down, so it was quite emotional."

Anyone who would like to donate can do so at www.facebook.com/emma.strathdee1

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