Veterans

Meet the veteran tackling PTSD by building a mountainside castle

A military veteran suffering from PTSD and depression has spent three-and-a-half years building a castle on a mountainside in Caerphilly in Wales.

Former Royal Welsh soldier Mikey Allen suffered a bad back injury which led his life to "spiral out of control".

The Afghan veteran has been carrying stones up a mountain, two or three at a time, to build Wales' newest castle which comes with amazing views.

'I don't feel alone'

According to Mikey, he did not initially intend to build a castle all those years ago. But he began to picture a place to help others.

"I was aware that a lot of people have bad days, and just having a safe place to go to that is peaceful can make all the difference," he said.

And just as Mikey envisaged, his castle is helping others.

Fellow Royal Welsh veteran Luke Tobin has been helping with the mammoth build.

Luke, who also suffers from PTSD, said: "It's like a mecca really, for veterans, because you come up here [the castle] and you are around a veteran that's been through a lot.

"And if I think I've been through a lot, then maybe I'm not alone in thinking that, because I'm going to hear another person's story they're going to tell me when they were in Ireland, or when they were in Bosnia, or when they were in Iraq.

"And it just makes me think about my feelings and my problems, I don't feel alone," he added.

Former Royal Welsh soldier, Mikey Allen, has spent spent three-and-a-half years building the castle.
Former Royal Welsh soldier Mikey Allen has spent spent three-and-a-half years building the castle.

Mikey's castle project is almost complete and he hopes to be done by the end of the year.

However, his help goes further than the mountainside structure.

The Royal Welsh veteran has also set up a community interest company offering courses with qualifications – like dry stone walling – to help veterans rebuild their lives.