Operation Odin – Stuart Dack

I recently returned from a expedition with the Pilgrim Bandits to Norway. Let me take you back to where my journey started with this amazing charity.

In August 2018 I left the Armed forces, my mental health at an all time low and resulting in a hospital admission a year later. On recommendation from a close friend, who often fundraises for the Pilgrim Bandits, my wife contacted them on my behalf. Within days I was booked to go canoeing in Norway for a few months time . Already I had something to focus on after being discharged from hospital. The trip was a mix of UK Armed forces/police and New Zealand Army. I was a bit unsure about going but I went with an open mind. When we got there we were met by Brian, this man had everything under control and everything was sorted for our arrival. We were soon paired off and on the fjord camping and canoeing making our way down. I was partnered with a Veteran from New Zealand and I couldn’t ask for a better buddy. As we got to know each other it came apparent that we had been through the same. It wasn’t an accident that we were paired together, the expedition leader knew we would talk. I couldn’t of asked for more. From organising the flights, to making sure your partner understands you they got it spot on.
It wasn’t the amazing sunset or sunrise, the crystal clear water or even the beautiful waterfalls that did it for me. It it was the ability to talk to my partner and by the end of the week I found myself opening up to everyone.
This experience will never be forgotten the Pilgrim Bandits has giving me forever friends and unforgettable memories. This trip has made me feel like a different person and for that I will always be grateful.

Stuart Dack Vet UK Armed forces.