When it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro, there is a whole host of people supporting you, from the travel agents: 360 Expeditions in my case, to the porters who carry the tents, kit etc to make your climb more enjoyable. Can you imagine how difficult it would be, if not only did you have to do the trek, but also had to pitch and take down camp, had to cook all your own meals, as well as carry everything that enabled you to do that? Well they are things I won’t need to fret about, thanks to the porters.
My research into this trek has brought up some very surprising reading, one of these being the treatment that some porters have endured in the past. Thanks to a group called Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project public awareness has been raised into the conditions that they once worked under, and now they have access to proper clothing, cooked meals and minimum daily wages.
I now need to check that the company I am travelling with work within the guidelines of the Partner for responsible Travel Programme, that ensures the porters that will be helping us on our climb, are being well looked after.
Would you pay extra, knowing that the staff that surround you, each day, are being paid a living wage, and able to have access to proper equipment for thier job?
Carrying my own backpack up Goatfell
The opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro came about after inviting a speaker to my local Rotary Club for which I am the speaker secretary. He was talking about the plight of the property previously known as Malcolm Sargent House. This house provided holidays for children and their families affected by cancer of life-threatening illnesses. The charity was looking for a plot to build a new house, and Billy came along to give us an update. From this meeting, and a chance comment on facebook after I had climbed Goatfell, I took the opportunity to sign up for the Kilimanjaro trek. To be honest, I felt a bit of a crank, as I like a walk along a flat river bank, but climbing up to 5,895 metres, is not something I have contemplated before
As a result of commiting to climbing Kilimanjaro, I thought it might be a good idea to actually get some walking in, and more to the point, hill-walking. So I joined a local group in my area, called Opportunities in Retirement, or OiR. They have several walking groups, and any pictures of walks up hills that you may have seen in previous posts, are on a walking trip with them. I am most grateful to Andy, who leads the group that I am in at the moment. As I get fitter, and closer to the climb, I will increase the intensity, and hopefully the mountain walking group will let me join them.
Billy Herd from BUYMSH Appeal and President Elect Joy Rivett
Living in Scotland, it is so easy to go hillwalking, with an easy hours drive from my back door. Here are some pictures of my very first hillwalk, just a few shorts weeks ago. I felt quite accomplished, as it was a steep climb very early on. My thanks to the patience of my fellow walkers, who encouraged me all the way.
Ailsa Craig: Volcanic Plug off the Ayrshire Coast
Just off the Ayrshire coast, in the Firth of Clyde, you will find the Isle of Arran. The highest point of the isle, is Goatfell, standing 874 metres above sea level. Here’s a few pictures from last years hike up to the top.
Carrying my own backpack up Goatfell
How fit do you have to be, to climb Kilimanjaro, I ask myself? Contrary to my friends belief, I am not as fit as they think I am, in fact I am probably not as fit as I think I am.
It is the highest mountain in Africa, and fifth in the world, standing at 5,895 metres above sea level. To be successful in getting to stand on the Roof of Africa, it is necessary to have not only a certain level of physical stamina, but also mental. Being prepared will only increase my chances of reaching my ultimate goal.
So here are a few things I will be doing in the next 16 months, in preparation.
Hillwalking: Living in Scotland, I am spoilt for places to go hillwalking, all within a short distance from my home. It is suggested that I get to the level of hiking 100 km in a week, so I have a round trip from my house planned, to do 7 days in a row. If I can be doing that by next summer I shall consider myself fit.
Climbing Ben Nevis
Walking the Kiltwalk in 2019
Taking a weekend course in Glenmore
Suggested 8 week fitness regime in preparation for trekking up Kilimanjaro
Yesterday I talked about despair, today is about excitement! Whenever I go anywhere new, I like to do lots of background reading and research, so that I am prepared in what I might expect. This trip is no exception. I have googled and read so many websites about Kilimanjaro, the mountain itself, the length of the flight out there, mosquitos, health suggestions, you name it, I’ve read it. So what gets me excited?
Even before I have done my 1st ascent up Kili, I am excited and thinking about my next one, Why? because I cannot decide which route to take.I came across a website commited purely to Kilimanjaro and it has such a depth of knowledge of the routes, explaining the geographic delights to be had on each one, and I want to see them all!
Now my 1st trip is being planned by the excellent travel group 360 Expedition so I am going on the route that they suggest, but I can’t help but get excited about the other routes that I have been reading about. You can find out more on another AtoZchallenge day, it could be L, (that’s a bit of a clue for you sleuths out there), or it could be R for routes, I haven’t quite made my mind up. That’s the nice thing about the AtoZchallenge, you think you have a plan, and then the posts evolve over the month.
So I am off to excite myself a bit more, by researching more about Moshi, Tanzania and the surrounds. I hope to stay on a day or 2 and get the Rotary experince whilst I am there.
Hope the weather is nicer where you are today. They have a word in Scotland for today’s weather “dreich”
Off to have a nice warm bowl of cullen skink!
Training is still very much in it’s infancy, but I do have 16 month to go, so I am not despairing yet. However on each step of my training I do find myself reaching a low point, where I have to remind myself that now I have commited to doing this climb, (to the tune of £800 deposit) and that once I am at the foot of Kilimanjaro, I am not going to be able to say “do you know what, I won’t walk today because a) the weather is inclement b) I haven’t had a good night’s sleep c) any other reason I care to come up with.
On several hill walks recently, I have had to push myself to carry on. Easter Sunday was an example. Once we had realised that we had made a mistake and were slaves to the high tide, I quickly became despondent, and then cold and tired, and then my hip started to feel tight. I know that there was a lot further that I could have slid, into despair, but at that precise moment, when you are several miles from home, with only the clothes that you are wearing, with very little food in your backpack, and 1 slip could mean the breaking of a bone, you begin to ask yourself why you are doing this? Then you remind yourself of the very reason that YOU ARE doing this, and that is for the children and families who will benefit from the money you are raising, and your mood lightens, and off you plod again.
Thank you for reading D is for Depths of Despair: Journey to Moshi and Onwards AtoZChallenge