Transcript: Meet Alex Staniforth, co-founder of Mind Over Mountains – Episode 1
[Alex] Hi I’m Alex Staniforth. I’m an adventurer, a motivational speaker, author and the founder of Mind Over Mountains which is a charity to restore mental health through outdoor experiences.
[Alex] Probably my most rewarding challenges have been Climb the UK 2017 – climbing to all the highest points of all the counties and my National Three Peaks last year – being able to make a difference close to home and Everest is still a big part of my story but I’ve found new Everests much nearer to home and I think we all have to find those whatever they may be.
[Paul] What was the first sort of big challenge you set yourself to do?
[Alex] Well I think the first big challenge at the time I was 16 and I did the National Three Peaks 2011. At the time that seemed to be my biggest challenge and it still is a really long day out. I was raising money for a conservation charity and cancer because that affected my family and that at the time felt like my Everest you know it was a massive boost of confidence that then propelled me on to do bigger things and I could never have imagined that actually just three years later I’d have been at Everest base camp. So I went to Everest for the first time in 2014 as part of an exhibition team and a day before we got to Base Camp sadly the expedition was cancelled following a big avalanche which sadly killed 16 climber sherpas so I raised the money to go back in 2015 for a second attempt when I was 19.
[Alex] This time we were on the mountain when the earthquake hit Nepal so obviously that expedition went quite badly wrong and we were stuck on the mountain at camp one for two days with aftershocks and avalanches hitting us from both sides and very lucky to get home safely I mean sadly we lost three of our own team at base camp that morning had we not left so that really put things in perspective for me and I’m obviously very grateful to be home safe you know dreams can be replaced but lives can’t but I think at 19 it gave me a really important perspective on just how fragile life is. It steered my attention to focusing on fundraising for people in Nepal – people that have so little but have been affected so badly by the earthquake and it’s also inspired me to think close to home. Since then I realized that it’s not always about the top, it’s not always about achieving the next goal. Probably my toughest challenge I’ve done to date was to run the national Three Peaks, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden but running the 450 miles between them in nine and a half days so normally as i did all those years ago you would drive between them. That was incomprehensible but it just shows that we are capable of so much more than we think. We just have to start and see how far it takes us.
[Paul] So if you were to pick one walk, run, cycle – if you pick one thing you can do, you’ve got a day, this is your last chance to do one outdoor activity, what do you think and where would it be?
[Alex] Oh god! It would definitely have to be in the Lake District I can answer that much – because it’s the most magical place in the world.
I think to run anywhere in the Lakes on a mountain at sunrise and to maybe finish with a wild swim in a town in the Lake District anywhere, but if I had to pick one place probably Buttermere is a very special place in my heart.
[Voiceover] For more information about Mind Over Mountains, please visit www.mindovermountains.org.uk