Finding health and happiness in the fells

Helen Hornsby and Kate Gardner
Helen and Kate are best friends from Carlisle, and also colleagues at The Cumberland’s head office. Helen is Risk Business Partner and Kate, Operations Team Leader.

The pals began fell-walking by accident. At the end of a gruelling pandemic lockdown, which left Helen feeling isolated and fed-up, they decided to go for a modest walk at Rannerdale Knotts in the Lakes. However, they took a wrong turn and ended up climbing the much more challenging Whiteless Pike.

When we got to the top it was brilliant. We were in awe at what we could see,” says Helen. “We got the bug from there and whenever we were free, we would go fell walking.” Helen has now climbed 29 Wainwrights and Kate has climbed 32.

“We did Catbells and Maiden Moor one night and we were coming down at 11 o’clock at night. The stress and feelings from the week had completely lifted and we had a good time,” says Helen. “I was happy and not grumpy mum. We just saw the mental health benefits.”

They also took up paddleboarding.

Kate says: “I feel better in myself and I’m fitter and have lost weight. I feel more confident. I look forward to it. We do quite a lot after work. Log off, get that laptop away, and go – we were coming down from Catbells at 11pm one night and we had had the best laugh and had put the world to rights, it was brilliant.”

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