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Ex-Royal Marine offers exciting mountain walks for veterans with The Not Forgotten



The Not Forgotten are pleased to offer serving personnel and veterans a selection of challenging mountain hikes and low level walks in Scotland for 2021.

Organised by Royal Marines veteran and owner of MacHardy Mountain Journeys, George MacHardy, the days are grouped into two sections to cater for various abilities. There’s even a wild camping option for anyone who fancies a night in the great outdoors!

Interested?
Please contact Anne at anne@thenotforgotten.org to register your interest.

You can learn more about George’s story, the event locations, what to expect, and more in our chat with George below.

What Inspired These New Walks in Scotland?

This new activity is inspired by my business in Scotland, where I take people for walks and hikes. Rosie and I are going to be travelling to various areas across Scotland, where local veterans will have the chance to have a great hike without having to travel too far from home.

Where Are The Walks Taking Place?

We have three more challenging mountain days which are taking place in:

  • Glencoe Buchaille Etive Mor:  Saturday 17th July 2021
  • North Caringorms. Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui:  Saturday 24th July 2021
  • Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg: Saturday 7th August 2021

And seven scenic mountain days which are taking place in:

  • The Glen Shee 3. Cairnwell, Carna Gheoidh and Carn Aosda: Saturday 19th June 2021
  • Ben Vrackie: Wednesday 7th July 2021
  • Ben Lomond: Wednesday 21st July 2021
  • Lock Ordie: Wednesday 28th July 2021
  • Ben Lawers & Beinn Ghlas:  Wednesday 4th August 2021
  • Ben Vrackie: Saturday 28th August 2021
  • Glen Clover, Drish & Mayer: Saturday 29th August 2021

Additionally, we have one brilliant wild camping experience running from:

Saturday 31st July – Sunday 1st August at Cairngorm Ski Centre Car Park

What Can Beneficiaries Expect on The Walks?

It’s a brilliant challenge, but most importantly, the goal is not to get to the top of the mountain. The goal is to be able to get outside, relax, and forget the stress and strain of home life. It will be a safe place where you can get active and have a chat. If you want to open up that’s fine, but if you don’t, that’s fine too.

We’re hoping that people will find friendship and a bit of fresh air. A lot of people will have been shielding for a long time, and people with conditions like PTSD, who will have been locked down for the year, will be able to relax.

The one thing we can’t control is the weather, but a bit of rain or wind is all part of the fun.

What If It’s Someone’s First Time with The Not Forgotten?

When you take people on these trips for the first time, they’re always a bit quiet and reserved, and even timid, for the first few days. But, once you break down those barriers, you realise that you all have shared experiences.

You’ve all been through military and hard times and you can connect through that. You also get to make new friends, which is great. It’s common for veterans to lose touch with the friends that they had while they served, and these opportunities allow them to find people who they can stay in contact with for years after they meet.

Who Are These Walks For?

Lots of the walks are for anybody essentially, even some amputees. We often pair up the fitter guys with those who find the walks more challenging, because helping each other out is the aim.

We do have some bigger challenges and longer days like Ben Nevis, which are more aimed towards the fitter people.

But, we make it clear from the start that no one’s racing ahead. We’re all in this together and we’re there to share experiences and enjoy everyone’s company.

Overall, regardless of your ability, it’ll be a great bit of fun outdoors, and I hope you’ll come and join us!

Tell Us About You and How You Met The Not Forgotten

I joined the Royal Marines in 2002 when I was 24, and after my basic training I became a part of 42 Commando and later 45 Commando, doing two tours of Afghanistan.

I was medically discharged in 2015 after I caught a nasty strain of Q Fever in the desert Afghanistan, which I’ve been steadily recovering from for years since. While I was in the process of leaving the marines, I met Rosie from The Not Forgotten, who was taking a group of personnel and veterans to do some mountain hikes, and was looking for some support. During my service, I did a Mountain Leader course, and I was keen to help out fellow servicemen.

I got to know more about The Not Forgotten, planned the trip with Rosie, and we were able to finish the 3 Peaks Challenge. Since then, I’ve helped Rosie to plan the more difficult walks with veterans in Morocco, Slovenia, Majorca, and the Falklands.

Being a part of The Not Forgotten has definitely been good for me. I’ve enjoyed connecting with like-minded people and being a part of a great atmosphere, and I’m able to help amputees and guys with other obstacles to achieve their goals, which boosts my wellbeing.

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If you would like to get involved in the Scottish walks, you need to be a registered beneficiary of The Not Forgotten.

You can register to become a beneficiary here.

Once you have registered as a beneficiary, please contact Anne at anne@thenotforgotten.org to register your interest.