It only seems like yesterday that I was setting off from Heathrow, with a group of random strangers I’d never met, to climb a mountain I knew nothing about, in a country I’d never visited – sounds like my kind of planning! Even better planning was the complete lack of training to battle the ascent of a 5,895m mountain – the biggest in Africa. Add into the mix the fact I’d never been to Africa, and you’re starting to see a pattern to my long haul holiday planning.
This is the thing though, this was no holiday. This was 12 days of ascent, climbing, hiking, acclimatising and getting ready, in order to summit the highest free standing mountain in the world. All in the aid of charity.
I’m still surprised to this day that I made it, especially with severe altitude sickness & the worst weather they’d seen in a long time (snow blizzards & -25 degree temps). It took a lot of will power, a huge amount of physical coercion & mental focus, but at just after 7am one fine December’s morn, we reached the summit.
Ever since then, I was hooked. I knew that it wouldn’t be long until I got back out there doing another one. Final year university & the process of finding honest employment kept me side-tracked for some time, but now I’m ready to get back out there and get my teeth into something. After a good amount of research I decided on Cotopaxi – an active volcano in Ecuador. At only 2 metres higher above sea level than Kilimanjaro, I knew I’d found the next step up, but thought that 2 metres wasn’t the greatest of improvements. So that’s when I came up with the idea of [21:21]. Twenty-one challenges, over twenty-one months. Different challenges that will push me both mentally & physically. Some of which will require a huge amount of training & determination. A small price to pay really, considering that the charity I’m raising money for (HELP for HEROES), helps our wounded soldiers who are out on the front line risking their lives on a daily basis.
Small price for me to pay indeed.
I’ve been a supporter of H4H for some time, but ever since my brother became a Royal Marine, it’s grown even closer to my heart. Knowing that one day he might need to use the vital services they offer, I’ve really got into action.
So that’s the rough background of why I’m taking on such a challenge. Here is a picture of me at the top of Kilimanjaro, and it is still one the proudest achievements of my life. I’m hoping that as the months go on, I’m going to have a whole host of other things to add to the list – I just hope that some of them involve a little sunshine.