A harvester operator is getting out of the cab – and out of the woods – as he prepares for a charity trek across Iceland.

In a trip to test the mind and body, Jake Fish, 30, has pledged to spend eight days traversing tough terrain to raise money for physical and mental health charity Millimetres 2 Mountains.

The trek will see him walking for 10 hours a day, scaling mountains and volcanoes and crossing turbulent rivers – a world away from the comforts of the harvester cab he’s used to.

In an appeal video posted to the Forest Machine Operators Blog on Facebook, Jake, an operator for Even Forestry, told how his own struggles with mental health had led him to strapping on his hiking boots.

He said: “I think it’s a giant issue in forestry that isn’t being spoken about. In any kind of industry where you’re working on your own, you have really rough days. Whether you’re sat in cabs, using saws, planting – it all gives you a lot of time on your own to think. 

“You’ve got a lot of stress, a lot of trials and tribulations, whether about running businesses or just making ends meet, and we all struggle with it. We don’t talk enough about it and some people don’t get enough help with it.”

He shared how the struggle of running his own business had all grown too much and prompted him to make a change in his life. Around this time, he learned of the charity Millimetres 2 Mountains and the inspiring story of its founder, Ed Jackson.

A rugby player left paralysed by a spinal injury, Ed pushed himself to climb a series of mountains, from Snowdonia to the Alps and Himalayas, raising thousands for charity and discovering the profound impact the outdoors had on his physical and mental recovery.

With his wife Lois, the charity was set up to support others going through tough times, helping them recover via the outdoors. Inspired by the story, Jake signed up for the eight-day Icelandic trek taking place in August.

“It’s going to be a very interesting trip,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how challenging it’s going to be, but after having spent 15 years not keeping particularly fit, working too much and sitting in a cab all the time and getting a bit heavy, I’m now getting back to the gym to train up – which is a positive change.”

Jake hopes to raise around £1,500 and would welcome support from others working in forestry. 

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He said: “I appreciate this industry can be a difficult one to earn money in, but any donations would be a huge help. I think people who get in touch with charities like Millimetres 2 Mountains really do need the support.

“I also want to see what can be done about tackling mental health in forestry and hopefully this is the start of looking at that.”

Donate to Jake’s Icelandic highlands trek at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jake-fish.