When Marc Hutton left the army after two-decades he felt lost and missed the tight bonds formed with the men he had fought and lived with.

It was this insight into how ex-servicemen’s mental health can suffer after retirement that lead him to start the Edinburgh Veteran's Walking Group for people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.

The free group, that can vary in size from two to 20, meet every Sunday to pound the Pentland Hills and walk out their worries.

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Marc, 45, started his army career at 19 in the Royal Highland Fusiliers and toured Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan before joining the 6 Scots Army Reserve Infantry in 2013 as a recruiting sergeant. He retired in 2016.

He said: "After I left the reserves something was missing. I missed the compadreship out on civvy street. When you're in the army your friends are all around you and when you get out of that circle you've got nothing."

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Now working at Edinburgh Airport as an aircraft refueller at the same time as running the walking group and an emergency hamper service for needy veterans, Marc sits on the board of Scottish charity Who Dares Cares

Founded by former soldiers Calum MacLeod and Colin MacLachlan in 2016, Who Dares Cares aids veterans living with PTSD, Marc organises regular fundraising events to boost their coffers.

Marc said: "Obviously, I'm not a qualified counsellor but what I offer the guys is peer support. I'm somebody who's been there and they'll speak to someone who's been there.

"Nine times out of ten, they're going to open up to their mates and reach out to them rather than a professional. That's what we've found anyway."

A father of three with two grandchildren, Marc struggled when he left the reserves, spending six months out of work. He said: "I toiled with the transition coming out and going from hero to zero. I finished as a platoon sergeant so was pretty high up and I came out and could't get a job."

But Marc kept soldiering on and found employment but it wasn't until recently that he's been able to acknowledge his experience of low mental health.

He said: "It took me eight or nine years to actually stick my hand up and say 'maybe I need help as well'.

"My wife told me that I haven't been the same since I came back from my first tour of Afghanistan."

Marc was blown up by an IED on his 12th wedding anniversay while in Kabul. Two days later he and his unit were hit again when the vehicle they were travelling in was bombed and blown into a ditch. Remarkably, everyone survived with no life-threatening injuries.

He said: "They were trying to hit us so the wagon would flip into the water upside down. They wanted us to drown in the canal."

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Life is calmer for Marc now but he finds fulfilment in organising the weekly walks and providing food packages for veterans in Edinburgh who are waiting for benefit payments or have been rehoused from service accomodation.

He said: "Some guys are struggling with PTSD and can't work and they haven't switched over onto Universal Credit so they're sitting there with no money.

"We give them a couple of dinners and a couple of lunches so we know that they're eating at least one hot meal a week."

Planning events to raise funds for Who Dares Cares is another focus for Marc who has already organised a charity walk the 66 miles from from Edinburgh to Clydebank to honour veterans who have died by suicide.

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This year he and his recruits will take on another 66-mile walk this time from Clydebank to Edinburgh and the 96-mile West Highland Way in April.

So far, Marc has raised almost £5000 for Who Dares Cares and intends to make the total climb every year.

He said: "Who Dares Cares is something close to my heart. I’ve lost a good few friends through the years and it’s just good to give something back.

“So we’re not actually just going out for the sake of it. We’ve got events to aim for and benchmarks to hit.

“Everybody says it’s having a positive effect. Their negative thoughts have turned into positive ones by the time we have finished.”