Glenrothes man named online walking champion for mental health project

A Glenrothes man who runs a social media project highlighting the how hillwalking can benefit your mental health, has won an award.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 9:11 am
Ross Cunningham

Ross Cunningham scooped the Media/Online Walking Champion award at the Scottish Walking Awards.

The awards body said Ross has had great success using his Mountains Mend Minds social media platform to help people improve their mental health through hillwalking, in particular supporting men who can be reluctant to discuss such issues.

Ross said: “Hillwalking gave me a focus at a time when I was really struggling with my mental health and it really helped me. Walking made me feel happier during a dark time and now through my Mountains Mend Minds project and online videos I’m hopefully inspiring others to hike the hills as well.

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“It’s slightly unbelievable to win a national award like this and it makes me even more motivated to continue doing what I’m doing.

"I'm so lucky to live in Fife, undeniably one of the best regions in Scotland for the outdoors, and through my videos and online content I've always championed the incredible outdoor spaces we have here in the Kingdom.

"I would really encourage anyone who hasn't done so before to pull on some walking boots and explore Fife - whether it's the Coastal Path, the Pilgrim Way or our brilliant wee hills which are an ideal introduction to hillwalking in Scotland."

Peter Grant, MP for Glenrothes, added: "I'm delighted that Ross has been recognised for the great work he's been doing to highlight the benefits that walking gives to our physical and mental wellbeing. As well as demonstrating his love for Scotland's wildest places he's reminded us during lockdown of the fantastic walks we're lucky to have on our doorsteps here in Fife."

Ross was not the only Fifer to win an award – a charity worker who runs a walking group to help migrants boost their health, social life and spoken English was named as the first-ever overall champion of the Scottish Walking Awards.

The panel of expert judges were wowed by Magdalena Augustyn-Lygas’ successful coordination of Sole Sisters community health walk project, run by Fife Migrants Forum. She scooped the Community Walking Champion and Overall Champion titles.