Scotland

Veteran And His Dog Climbing 44 Mountains In Fundraiser

Paul Harris, a former member of The Rifles, is aiming to raise £3,000 for Walking With The Wounded by climbing Scotland's Munros.

A former soldier is climbing 44 peaks in Scotland to raise money for Armed Forces charity Walking With The Wounded.

Paul Harris and his dog Munro are climbing some of the Munros, a range of mountains in Scotland which are all over 900m (3,000ft).

Mr Harris served in The Rifles for 16 years and since being medically discharged in 2018, his life has not been easy.

He has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which culminated with him going back into recovery after becoming "really unwell in February and March this year".

"I went back into recovery and obviously the lockdown was happening and then things weren’t getting any better for me and I thought, ‘I just need to get away and do something',” he said.

Mr Harris formed an inseparable bond with Munro after he was given to him by the charity Bravehound, which pairs veterans with companion dogs to help with their transition into civilian life.

And Mr Harris said that, after taking an overdose, his dog was literally a lifesaver.

"I took the overdose with a lot of pills and I went to this wood, it was on a freezing night in February, and he [Munro] started going absolutely crazy,” he said.

Mr Smith is hoping to raise £3,000 by scaling the 44 peaks alongside his dog, Munro.

"I was sort of intending to drift off, fall asleep, freeze to death and not wake up and he [Munro] was just going crazy, he was barking, shouting howling.

"It sort of kept me semi-conscious and then it just sort of all came round and I just got up and walked home.”

Now, Mr Harris is continuing to raise money for Walking With The Wounded, which has helped him since leaving the Army.

Having already raised over £2,300, Mr Harris is aiming to smash his target of £3,000.

He hopes that whatever amount he raises will help make the difference for other veterans who have found themselves struggling with their mental health.

“I’m going to finish this off anyway, if I can earn a few hundred quid for a charity along the way just by doing something, then it's all good," he added.

Mr Harris' fundraising page can be found here

:: If you are going through a difficult time, or are concerned about a family member or friend, Combat Stress has a team of specially trained professionals who are available to provide free confidential advice and support. 

Call their 24-hour helpline on 0800 323 4444.