Ben and Simon walk the Cleveland Way in just three days for World Mental Health Day

(Left to right): Simon Whitehead and Ben Potter at Whitby Abbey after finishing their gruelling 109 miles walk along the Cleveland Way to raise awareness for mental health.
(Left to right): Simon Whitehead and Ben Potter at Whitby Abbey after finishing their gruelling 109 miles walk along the Cleveland Way to raise awareness for mental health.

Two North Yorkshire outdoor enthusiasts completed the gruelling 109 mile walk of the Cleveland Way yesterday to raise awareness and funds for a mental health charity.

Ben Potter and Simon Whitehead, supporters of the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation (NYMMO) ‘Walked and Talked’ the route in just under three days.

(Left to right): Simon Whitehead and Ben Potter on the Cleveland Way

(Left to right): Simon Whitehead and Ben Potter on the Cleveland Way

Internationally renowned falconer Ben Potter (Birds of Prey Displays) walked the whole 109 miles accompanied by his pet dog Lena, He was joined for large stretches by ferreting expert and journalist, Simon Whitehead (Pakefield Ferrets) and his dog Tawny. Back up support was provided by John Cavana of NYMMO.

The pair have been raising money for YANA, “You Are Not Alone” which offers help for those in farming who may be affected by stress and depression. The total raised so far stands at £1,340 with the Virgin Money giving-page remaining open for the next two months.

John Cavana of NYMMO, said: “Ben and Simon have braved the elements, experiencing four seasons in one day, as they have battled through a combination of exhilaration and exhaustion along the way.

"They have done a fantastic job to help raise awareness for mental health as this is one of the hardest things they have put themselves through – it has certainly tested their endurance and mindset.

Simon Whitehead at the end of the route.

Simon Whitehead at the end of the route.

“It’s been a brotherhood of friendship throughout the journey – I have offered them warm drinks, a bed at night and a lot of deep heat and moral support, and some friends have also come out at various stages of the route to walk a few miles for encouragement.”

Tina Brough, coordinator of NYMMO, said: “The walk, completed by Ben and Simon is a great example of spending time together and to highlight the importance of listening and talking each and every day.

“Mental health issues can affect anyone, and mental health wellbeing is so important. It’s time to lose the stigma behind mental health.

"Mental health is especially noticeable in the farming and gamekeeping community where many lonesome days are spent out on the hills.

"Outdoor activities are great for mental health, wellbeing and health in general, it’s good to talk and equally important to know that there is always someone out there who will listen.”