Yorkshire amputee who can only walk 20 minutes at a time climbs England's three peaks - in 27 hours

An amputee who can only walk for 20 minutes at a time has climbed England's three highest peaks - a feat that took him 27 hours

Ben Lovell, 42, had never climbed a mountain before he had to have his right leg amputated below the knee due to a blood clot.
Ben Lovell, 42, had never climbed a mountain before he had to have his right leg amputated below the knee due to a blood clot.

Ben Lovell, 42, had never climbed a mountain before he had to have his right leg amputated below the knee due to a blood clot.

The strain on his leg means he can walk 20 minutes - a mile - before he has to take off his prosthetic and rest, before climbing again.

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But the former road worker scaled Helvelyn in seven hours, Scafell in nine hours and Scafell Pike, after another 11 hours of trekking.

He raised thousands of pounds to pay for kids with prosthetic limbs to join his fitness boot camp and holiday retreat in Tenerife, called AmpCamp.

Ben, from Halifax, said: "It’s never about how long it takes me; it’s just about getting it done. Helvelyn was really hard and pretty scary because we lost the track and ended up climbing the side of the peak.

“I was in a lot of pain but that’s a mental thing and you’ve just got to get past it. Scafell didn’t have man made pathways so I was walking through boggy fields and stuff. With a prosthesis you don’t get to feel whether the ground is uneven or not.

“I can’t adjust in the same way because I don’t have an ankle joint. It puts such a strain on your other joints and other leg, and using crutches, which I have to do, is really hard on your back and shoulders."

Ben, who has a son Midas, seven, and daughter Twinkle, 11, used to work tarmacking roads before losing his leg after a blood clot behind his knee in November 2017.

He suffered anxiety and depression at first, but now goes to the gym five or six times a week.

Ben, who is married to salon owner Laura, 35, completed his climbs over three weekends in April 2021.

He was able to walk about a mile before the remaining part of his amputated leg went white from lack of blood, and he had to rest for ten minutes.

He also did a sponsored 13 mile walk round a reservoir on crutches, and a 15,000ft parachute jump.

Ben founded AmpCamp, a retreat for amputees at a ten-bed villa in Tenerife, and next year is planning the first trips for children with limb loss.

He raised money with his climbs, so the families only have to pay for their flights, he said.

“There are loads of children who need this opportunity and I want to carry on with my challenges," he said. “Getting a prosthesis doesn’t make everything alright again. I know people with limb loss who still feel embarrassed about it even six years after.

“People do stare a lot - just because it’s visible. With these holidays we just want to give people a place to go where they can feel safe and confident, and where they can relax without stigma, and if you need to take your leg off for a bit everyone understands.”