Ben's walk for RUOK? reaches the Clare Valley

Ben Donnelly arriving in Clare on April 12 during his walk from Lake Eyre to Mt Kosciuszko to raise awareness for charity RUOK?.
Ben Donnelly arriving in Clare on April 12 during his walk from Lake Eyre to Mt Kosciuszko to raise awareness for charity RUOK?.

Embarking on a journey from mental illness can feel like a battle from the lowest pit to an out of reach peak according to Ben Donnelly, who has spent his career working as a teacher and school principal.

Mr Donnelly said he had met people who were struggling with mental illness but something needed to be done to raise awareness of services such as RUOK? which helped people in their darkest times.

In the middle of May, after spending 12 months working with at risk teenagers, Mr Donnelly decided to pack his bag and walk from Australia’s lowest point near Lake Eyre to the peak of Mt Kosciuszko.

He said it showed people how each day was just a few steps forward and not a complete restart when you hit a wall; you just had to keep walking until you reached the peak.

“The whole walk has been terrific,” Mr Donnelly said, after arriving in Tarlee last Thursday night. 

“I would be very happy if the rest of my walk could be all trails like this.”

Last week, Mr Donnelly walked down Horrocks Highway and the Riesling Trail as he made his way through the Clare Valley on the nearly 2000-kilometre trek.

“Walking along the trail and watching the vines changing color is also wonderful,” Mr Donnelly said.

“Having people walking in pairs and small groups was nice considering it gives them time together and to connect with each other.”

To follow Mr Donnelly’s journey, visit pittopeak.com.