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Hi guys. Chris asked me to write a short piece for the Freeklime blog so here goes. For those who do not know me, I am a dad to my 6-year-old daughter, Rosie and a husband to Becky. I am also a passionate climber, hillwalker, and mountaineer. I also passionately believe in the mental and physical health benefits the outdoors, and particularly climbing, can bring to people.

I established Blackdog Outdoors to promote the mental health benefits of outdoor exercise.  I am a Civil Engineer by profession and have always used the outdoors as my own personal therapy when the stress levels get too high.  Escaping to our green spaces allows me to find balance in my fast-paced life, and to an extent, to re-calibrate my emotions.  It is this very philosophy that we aim to promote and support through our events at Blackdog Outdoors, which are free to attend by those affected by poor mental health.

Outside of work I am a qualified Mountain Leader, but I particularly enjoy climbing because it allows me to escape from my every day worries. Being on a wall, whether on ropes or bouldering, is very much like practicing mindfulness.  The focus on solving the problem… where to put your hand next… how to maintain balance… it does not allow you to think about anything else.  That e-mail that I forgot to send, or the difficult conversation I might have had during the day, I stop thinking about those things when I am climbing.  It really is a fantastic way to stay healthy both physically and mentally.  And there is always a new challenge, so it never gets boring!

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