Invictus: Endeavour I Can Hike
Twenty international members of the We Are Invictus community have just completed a 154km hike along the West Highland Way in Scotland, UK. Travelling around 20km a day, the wounded injured and sick veterans (and a few service dogs!) from the UK, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands came together to embark on this trip as part of their recovery.
The I Can Hike was funded by the Invictus Games Foundation as part of the Invictus: Endeavour programme, but was organised, supported and delivered by wounded, injured or sick veterans. They set off from Milngavie on the 19th March and covered around 20km a day before they reached the Royal Marine Commando monument near Spean Bridge where they paid their respects on the 28th March.
Robert van der Holst, Netherlands, who led the expedition, said, “In 2010, 2016 and 2018, I travelled to Scotland to follow the well-known route of the West Highland Way. This did me so much good mentally and made me feel fulfilled, that I want to give this same feeling to more veterans by going back with others. In the first instance to show them what such a trip can do for your condition and mental resilience, but also to show them this beautiful country.
Due to the effort you go through deep valleys during this trip, but at the same time the camaraderie and the untouched nature of the Highlands bring enormous relaxation. This is what makes this tour so unique. I myself have chronic PTSD, contracted during my posting to the former Yugoslavia in 1994. Through this trip I also want to promote what PTSD is and what it does to yourself and your environment.”
The Invictus: Endeavours programme is one way that the Invictus Games Foundation support the recovery of the international wounded, injured and sick community, beyond the Invictus Games. Invictus: Endeavours allows the Invictus Games Foundation to offer sports and adventurous challenges to 23 Nations year round to aid the recovery journeys of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans. Those interested in joining future Invictus: Endeavours should head to weareinvictus.co.uk to join the community.
Taking place at the same time as the I Can Hike Invictus: Endeavour was an expedition in Norway where an Invictus team recreated Operation Gunnerside made famous by the film Heroes of Telemark; and another Invictus: Endeavour sees an international team of wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans in Colorado learning Alpine, Nordic and snowboarding at a para-snow sport event led by AFPST.