Many of my friends are asking loads of questions, like “How long does it take?” “What’s the temperature on Kilimanjaro?”, so as training has come to an end, I thought I would take the opportunity to answer some of the questions being asked.

So we are taking the Lemosho route, which is on the west side. We “enter” the mountain through the Londorosi Gate, which is where I am expecting the excitement to really kick in, as we see the machine that is going to be supporting us, at work. By that, I mean the infrastructure of porters and guides, who work tirelessly, so we can reach our goal. What we have trained for years for, they do every week of the year, carrying our gear, so that we can achieve the dream. The Londorosi gate is at 2,250 metres according to our itinerary pack from 360 expeditions. We can expect the temperature to be around 17 degrees C.

Day 1: Our starting point is the Morum Picnic Site. We don’t expect to be seeing too many other people, as this is still a quieter route than others. The walk starts through lush rain forest, so waterproofs may be on, from day one. We have an ascent of just 100 metres on Day 1, plenty of opportunity to acclimatise and get used to being at over 2500 metres. A short walk between 1-2 hours. We do get the chance to do a walk high, sleep low walk as well.

Day 2: Another gentle introduction to the mountain with an ascent of 400 metres, over half a day.  Once out of the rain forest we are into moorland. The views are apparently spectacular. I am going to be so glad that I have a solar panel to charge my batteries for the camera, as I am expecting to be taking thousands of pictures over the seven days.

Day 3: We break the 4,000 level. We enter the low alpine desert section, which is supposedly surreal. Where we end up at the end of today’s walk will depend largely on the strength and health of the group. This is the second longest day of the trek, the longest by far, being the summit day. At 4,000 we can expect temperatures around 5 degrees C.

Day 4: Conquering the Great Barranco Wall, reported to be one of the great moments of the trek. It involves some scrambling. Here is where the ascents of goatfell will hopefully be good preparation. We then have a series of valleys before reaching camp. 4-5 hours today.

Scrambling Practice

Practice for the Barranco Wall

Day 5: A quiet day, preserving our energy for the BIG PUSH that is known as Summit Day! Only 3-4 hours walking today, and an early night! Hopefully time to take pictures of the beautiful starry night.

Day 6: The big one, this is what is has all been about. We set out at midnight, head torches on, and the light of a full moon (on the 14th) to go “pole, pole” up to the summit. First we reach the summit of Kibo, one of the three volcanoes which go to make up Mount Kilimanjaro. It is here we see the sunrise. Then it’s the final push to Uhuru point and the Roof of Africa! All 5895 metres up!  Today we will be walking somewhere between 12-14 hours, with an ascent of a Munro, but descending two Munros, with a drop of over 2000 metres.

It all sounds so easy, sitting in my lounge, typing this. I am excited and full of trepidation too. I hope that I have done enough to succeed in reaching the summit. My bags are ready to be packed. I am waiting for my hand warmers to arrive, and another batch of nappy liners, to make my own wet-wipes.Come back in the next day or so when I will share my method for making them and my own protein bar.




Last Double Digit Day!

How did this creep up? Today is the 10 day countdown, until we set off for Kilimanjaro. Training is more or less behind us, now it is shopping for those last minute items that I might only ever use on this trip.

Items such as:

Solar charger: Much as I may walk in the hills after this trek, I am unlikely to go out for long enough that my battery goes flat. But then again I might get a liking for this trekking lark and do more.

USB battery charger: See above!

4 seasons sleeping bag with liner: See above!

Can you spot an item which once I’m done with this trek will be confined to the bin, just incase someone uses it in the kitchen by accident?


It’s Getting Exciting Now!

Items I have bought for walking that I wear/use in Scotland:

Down jacket

Thermal underwear

Some of those might even be for 1 day or night. The one known as “Summit Day”. Items for this night and day include:

A balaclava,

Thick gloves,

Hand & Feet warmers.

Tomorrow we are into single digits. 9 days and countdown.

Exciting times ahead.

3 Different Walks, Same Summit

Goatfell: 874 metres

This is my third summit of Goatfell, and possibly my last, but then I said that about the first one. It is a challenge, and one that changes each time I do it: See I’m talking myself into doing it again, just to see the change.

A brief history on my Goatfell climbs. Despite what you may be thinking from the title, this was my fourth attempt at goatfell, my third success. The first time was a dismal failure. It was a dreich, miserable day, and about half an hour into the walk I developed cramp, any excuse not to continue in the rain. I turned back. After last weekends walk on the Luss Hills, in torrential downpour, including hail and howling winds, I look back on that initial walk and realise that it was a breeze, but hey ho. Last week I was given the title “Honorary Scot” for all the summer walks I have done in rain, hail and howling winds.

I was so disappointed not to have been succesful in reaching the summit, that I set off 2 weeks later, with a friend, and we reached the summit, where the views were not great. It started to drizzle just as we reached the top. I posted on facebook that I had done it, for a charity, and someone saw it, and challenged me to climb Kilimanjaro for another charity. Now I must tell you dear reader, that after finally reaching the summit of Goatfell, and successfully made it home to a warm bath, a hot dinner, cooked by the hubby, and a G&T, I slept like the proverbial baby……in my own bed!

Kilimanjaro is a full weeks adventure, camping on on the mountainside for 6 nights! Not my idea of fun. But after 6 months of not giving it a single thought, I thought “why not?” It was Christmas/New Year 2017/18 and everybody was setting New Years’ Resolutions, so I set myself one. To reach the summit of Kiliamanjaro in September 2019.

So my next two summits of Goatfell were training for this very feat. The weather was fair yesterday, although rain was forecast. The weather for the whole of August has been abysmal, rain, rain and more rain. August normally holds the promise of heather clad hillsides, but the weather had kept me off the hills where the heather is to be found, until yesterday.


As we approached the summit, the cloud that had been tiny wisps covering the peak, became thicker until at one point it was probably less than 20 metres visibilty.

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My companion on this ascent was Graham. Graham is 78 years old, and had a stroke 6 years ago. His doctor and family don’t like him walking on his own, and he doesn’t like to feel that he is holding people back, if he walks in a big group. So I offered to take him up some of the bigger walks and climbs that the mutual group does. That’s him in the picture, with his head down, advancing towards the bridge.

August on Goatfell

Heather clad hills of Goatfell

We made good time up, around 3 hours 15 minutes or so. I slowed us down going up, as my toe is still a nuisance. I have learnt how to manage it……I have to keep taking my boot off and doing a McTimoney wiggle on it. That seems to settle it down until the next time I lean on the outer edge of my right foot. My toes doesn’t seem to like that, and I need to reset the toe manually. Graham responded by developing a painful knee on the way down. What a pair we are. Graham hobbled back from the bottom of Goatfell, all the way back to the ferry terminal. We missed the ferry by about 30 seconds, so we retreated to the nearest cafe for a coffee and a snooze. Well we had been up since 5 am in my instance, and 4 am in Graham’s.

There are 2 weeks left! A month ago I was asking myself what I had signed up for? Was I mad? Could I really do it? Now it’s just a fortnight away, and I want it to be here. 10 days of work, a few days for the chance of getting a walk or two in. A fortnight to get the last minute bits and pieces like gloves and sunglasses, oh and a fortnight to perfect the energy bar recipe.

Come back soon for Visa’s Dollars and Packing!




First Steps

5 months today, and the group will be taking the 1st step on the climb up Kilimanjaro. I know the months are going to fly by, and soon the countdown will be weeks, rather than months. I would like to think that I am on track to get my fitness levels up. Having the hills and mountains of Scotland right on my doorstep is a bonus. Yesterday’s climb of 800 metres is likely to be no more than is expected of us, in 1 day. There will be 2 main differences though.

  1. It will be at much higher altitude
  2. We will be sleeping in tiny tents on the side of a mountain, rather than our own beds.

Today my local newspaper ran a story on my jaunt.


Success on Lowther Hill

Height 725 metres                                      Total Ascent 800 metres

After my disappointment at the weekend when I was left feeling a little down about my lack of improvement over the past month, I am pleased to say that today I managed a hill walk in the beautiful Spring sunshine. Lowther Hill has a height of 725 metres, but is quite challenging in the ups and downs that it entails, to reach the top of it.

The whole walk didn’t quite go to plan, as today it was the turn of someone else not to complete the whole walk (I must admit that did make me feel better for not completing Saturday’s walk) The plan was to do a circular walk, to take in Green Lowther, but once we had summited Lowther Hill, the decision was to go back the way we had come.

Knee Report: I am pleased to say that my knee held up remarkably well. There was lots of steep descent, which is when it is at it’s least comfortable. To be honest it is very painful, life a knife being drawn through the joint every step that weight goes through it whilst bent. Today it was hardly noticeable until I got to the last 100 metres os so, where it wasn’t the gradient that got it, but more the rough uneven terrain. It was the ground that I dread, as the most likely one to twist an ankle and hinder training for a long time.

As you can see from the photos, it was a stunning day, and the views were for miles.

An email arrived today from 360 Expeditions, with the kit list. It suddenly is beginning to feel very real indeed.


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Tomorrow being the 10th, is the 5 month countdown from the day we start our ascent up Kilimanjaro for Whiteleys Retreat. Bring it ON!

Blessings and Namaste


Late January Hill Walk

This morning I woke to the sound of howling winds. For several hours the winds tore around the house, but by mid-morning they had calmed enough to go for a walk. Burn Anne Walk is 15 miles from my house, so it means a jump in the car to get there. I parked in Barr Castle car park, in Glaston, which is a masonic lodge.

Cass Castle Galston

Barr Castle Galston

From the car park, it is a short walk on quiet roads, to get into the countryside. The walk starts by going through the woods of Burnhouse Brae and Cessnock Woods, before entering more open land. We had had quite a lot of rain overnight, well this is Scotland, and the path was imprinted with all the people who use this walk. There were footprints, paw marks, the occassional horseshoe imprint, and the tracks of a couple of mountain bikers. It is good to see the countryside being used and enjoyed by so many.



It was on the open land that the ground underfoot was frosty in places, and the patterns of frost on the fallen leaves was a reminder that this was the last weekend of January.

My training has begun in earnest. This week I hope to do another walk on Tuesday, with OiR, then a stretch class on Wednesday, and a Nordic walk on Friday.

Thank you for reading this far. This is a post in the series for “Training for Kilimanjaro” Namaste



Where did 2018 Go?

Every Step logoed

I am finding it hard to believe that I have not written a single post for almost a year. I wish I could say that I have been busy training, but that would not be the truth, although I have climbed a few more hills in the past year, than I have ever done in my entire life.

Now that 2019 is here, and the real countdown begins, then I am upping the walking and fitness routine in a big way. The weather has been a bit of a hindrance, and the wind is whipping up out there as I type, and tomorrow’s walk to Conic Hill has been cancelled. Oh Well!

On the plus side, I have done my first Nordic walk since this time last year, today.  And I am very pleased to say that my fitness level has improved dramatically over this time last year, so I am on the right path. As tomorrow’s walk is not happening now, with Ayr District Rambling Club, then I will take myself out on Sunday and do a local walk.

In the coming weeks and months, I will be adding a weekend walk, either Saturday or Sunday, and then come April, start to walk on both days at the weekend, as well as my Tuesday hillwalk and Friday Nordic walk. Include into that, a stretch class, and lots of stretches at home, and I think I will be fit for the climb come September.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any tips on how I can get fit to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in seven and a half months, then I would love to hear from you.


Blessings, Joy

Volcano: Journey to Moshi, and Onwards

Volcanic activity formed the three peaks of Kilimanjaro, millions of years ago. One of the volcanic cones, Shira, is now extinct and eroded. Mawenzi and Kibo, the other two peaks, blended together after subsequent eruptions. Kibo is now the highest, with the famous peak discussed yesterday, Uhuru.

It is not easy to believe that millions of years ago, the landscape of Kilimanjaro may have looked something like the activity that is shown in this video. This is an active volcano today.

Credit to US Geological Surveys

Edge of Lava Flow Mt Etna Picture shown at RIBI Conference Torquay

Uhuru: Journey to Moshi, and Onwards

Uhuru Peak is the ultimate peak at 5 895 metres above sea level, of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the highest point on the planet, on any freestanding mountain.

I am so looking forward to stand on top of it, but for now I will have to post a picture of the highest point around here, which is Goatfell, on Arran. the third picture is Byne Hill in South Ayrshire.


Blessings Joy x

Tanzania: Journey to Moshi, and Onwards

Tanzania, the country which plays host to the Kilimanjaro party, lies in the East of the African Continent. It has vast wilderness areas, including the plains of the Serengeti. It is one of the best places in the world to go on safari and try and catch a glimpse of the Big 5. It is also 1 of the countries where the wildebeest migrate. Now wouldn’t that be a wonderful sight to see?

Tanzania is not a country I have given a lot of thought to, as a holiday destination, but I am certainly looking forward to going there and experiencing all that it has to offer in the way of natural sights.

I cannot stop myself singing the words of a favourite song of mine, in the 80’s. Who remembers Toto’s “Africa”? If you need reminding, it’s here, enjoy.