Blog 1 – Friday 11th October - Andy Little

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Wow a seed of an idea, followed by a couple of years planning, is now really coming to fruition.

We have all arrived at Heathrow ready to begin our Kilimanjaro adventure. The extensive preparation that we have all undertaken over recent months, is suddenly forgotten. An expectant buzz is in the air.

Classic Challenge have arranged a relaxed, welcoming and smooth process. For example, we are all checked in already! Thank you Evie. Gavin (Classic Challenge big cheese) has even come to see us off, thanks mate.

Our party flying out to Nairobi is 29. 26 of the EL 21 team (Archie is already in Moshi) plus our guide Darren, Doctor Debbie and Classic Challenge’s Amy.

I hand out EL goody bags. Team T shirts and hats are packed.

If others are like me, there is a mixture of excitement and apprehension of what lies ahead.

Everyone’s fund raising has been exceeding expectations. I check our Virgin Money Giving total, we are over £55,000, astounding! All 3 charities have been contacting us to show their appreciation.

Above we don our charity T shirts for a group picture.

No turning back now!

Andy

Blog 2 – 12th October - Andy Little

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The flight to Nairobi is uneventful, but I learn an important tip from my niece ‘Badass‘ Lydia. Lyds is an air hostess herself and handed a box of chocolates to the cabin crew. I wonder whether all passengers benefited from the special service that followed?

7.5 hours wait at Nairobi passed surprisingly comfortably.

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A very special highlight was to watch with the locals, the historical moment as Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge completed the Viennese marathon in sub 2 hours!

The joy and excitement it was a privilege to share.

You can see the 4 very happy Kenyans that I shared the moment with.

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Now the short flight to Kilimanjaro.

The mountain is in cloud as we fly past so we haven’t got our first sighting yet.

Now is an important moment. We all have our walking boots but will our bags and the rest of our kit arrive with us at Kilimanjaro?

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Ian M asks whether we are aware of the significant vegetable exported from the area to the UK?
Wait for it..........Moshi peas! Boom Boom!

We transfer to our home for the night Weru Weru River Lodge. A wonderful place with a real African feel. We were even treated to a local wedding. I am not sure that Jo will be very pleased if I suggest any of the customs for Malaysia in February!

 undefinedA Local Wedding taking Place at our Hotel

Our bags are checked for contents and weight.

Ruthless decisions are made and we are almost ready.

Just time for a briefing from our guide Darren and Dr Debbie.

Dinner is enjoyed accompanied for most by a beer. I am on the water after 4 weeks of abstinence! Someone advised me of the benefits of avoiding alcohol for a month before trekking at altitude. I think I have fallen for a joke but I cannot give up now!

Time for bed and to start Diamox the drug that will hopefully help us cope with the effects of altitude sickness.

We start walking tomorrow. Good night Andy L

Blog 3 – It began in Africa-ca-ca! – Ian Meakin and Laura Stokes

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The day had finally arrived, after months of gathering kit and working out how to pack it all into a small bag to be carried by a porter – it was time to go!

I’d been so consumed by this that I hadn’t really thought about the physical aspect much. So, as the bags were loaded onto the 2 buses transporting us to Kilimanjaro, what was in them was what we had and the focus shifted to what was ahead.

No sign of the mountain as we approached, hidden by cloud and rain. Everybody entering the park must sign in with their passport number – we did this and off we went with our guide, Sheban, leading the way and setting the pace. “Pole Pole” (slowly slowly) to help us acclimatize to the altitude as we go.

We walked through the tropical rain forest seeing monkeys, waterfalls and bird life, to our first nights stop at Manelara camp, where clearly they hadn’t paid the electric bill, as we had no lights in our accommodation. A bit tricky doing everything by head torch when not yet familiar with the routine. And then Bed!

Blog 4 – Question time with Ben and Dan

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Ben Question: Yo Dan! We stayed at our first camp, Mandara Huts, last night - what was camp like?

Dan Answer: I'll be honest, I thought we might be staying under canvas which could be tough in the night, so seeing bunk beds with mattresses lifted my spirits! Having proper walls also meant the sleeping bag wouldn't be pushed to its limits. I had to use it like a duvet to stop getting too hot. So I felt super comfy at Mandara, we even had sit down toilets!

Dan Q: Who helped you the most on today's walk?

Ben A: Whilst the physical exertion wasn't that bad today ("pole pole" is the motto of the trip and it means "slowly slowly"!), one of our guides, Sheban, has been a wonderful man - answering our questions about Kili and telling us about the vegetation and landscape. Also, jumping around on the rocks at the end of the day with you and new friend James, was a lot of fun!

Ben Q: After the rainforest yesterday, how has the scenery and terrain changed today?

Dan A: We were told to expect moorland scenery not unlike Dartmoor (possibly my favourite place in the world) and there were similarities. Lots of deep green colours and rocks everywhere but Africa is a lot bigger than Dartmoor (who knew?!) and I found the scale pretty impressive. The paths we walked were mostly dirt tracks giving us plenty of grass verges to rest on. In the distance we could begin to see the heights we will eventually reach, they seem so far away! On day one trees were big and leafy with plenty of water running everywhere. Today the surroundings are dry and the trees are unrecognisable but look at home in a desert.

Dan Q: What was your favourite bit of kit used today?

Ben A: I'm really getting into using my walking poles! It feels good to be using them for a proper adventure and not just a jaunt around Hertfordshire. It's also reassuring that my waterproof bag is in fact waterproof!

Ben Q: What was the mood like on today's walk?

Dan A: For me personally the mood is tentatively excited. The walks have been manageable so far and my boots arent giving me grief so I'm happy. If things continue like this Kili should be conquered. In the wider group I think there was a little feeling of reality hitting home. Yesterday out of nowhere one of the guys got sick and had to stop by the side of the path for a long time. We all need to be super careful about hygiene. With a tiny slip up resulting in vomit it feels almost impossible to leave this mountain without succumbing to an issue or two.

Dan Q: How do you feel about the next few days? I hear it's going to get harder…

Ben A: I'm trying not to think too much about the next few days. I'm certain that summit night will be hard, but I'm just trying to focus on each day at a time and enjoy it rather than think about what might or might not happen. Saying that, I'm definitely excited to see how the scenery changes and it's exciting to see the top of Kili getting closer and closer!

Ben Q: Have you learnt any Swahili?!

Dan A: Ndio! Yes! One of the guides called Andrew even gave me a few words on the back of a napkin to take home. Mambo poa! (Things are cool!)

Dan Q: So far, what's the best tip you'd give to people who want to climb Kili?

Ben A: The walking is intentionally slow so that we have time to acclimatise. I think practising being out on your feet for long periods of time is worthwhile training, rather than necessarily walking fast. I also really enjoyed sitting with a few of the guides this evening and having a chat while everyone relaxed before dinner. So, my second tip would be to throw yourself into the experience and to make friends with everyone - the other walkers as well as the guides and the porters.

Ben Q: Tonight, we arrived in Horombo Hut; what did you do once you got to camp?

Dan A: Horombo is without question one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The skyline is stunning and our perspective from above the clouds makes bits of blue sky look like lakes in mid-air.After taking plenty of photos we nipped off to explore a tantalising looking ridge that jutted out into the clouds. Feeling like naughty school boys we climbed, jumped and ran along the ridge stopping off for some selfies.

Blog 5- Day 3 of the Trek – Andy Ormiston / Graham Foster

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A promising day in terms of activity, as today is our first of 2 acclimatization days. A day to enjoy, a leisurely start with breakfast at 8am and walking at 9am, if only summit day was as easy. The weather is good as we set off from Horombo hut at 3700m, in anticipation of how the effect of walking to 4200m will impact us. With the sun beating down on another glorious day, it wasn’t long before the bold intrepid walkers were stopping at the side to remove excessive layers or in some cases (no names), a quick pee stop as the morning Diamox kicked in. The path is relatively easy as we plod (Paul Evan’s description) uphill towards Zebra rocks.

Surprise Surprise – no zebras but lots of rocks! Our lead walker Shabba, who is always at the front of our group, explained the colourings were due to water running over the rocks. We have a stop at Zebras and Colin Kennedy kept us entertained with the joke of the day – “Why are there no Anadin in the jungle? – because the ‘parrots eat them all’” (say it quickly and you’ll get it.)

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After our stop, we climb to the ridge above Zebra rocks which Darren describes as similar to our ascent on summit night. Having now completed the summit, I can confirm that was not an accurate description! We reached the high point for the day at 4200m and got a great view of ‘the mountain’, the next days trail and way in the distance, our next sleeping point at Kibo Hut.

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Having all survived the ascent (despite some people suffering with diarrhoea and sickness) we descend back to Horambo. There was a lot of excitement when we said we were having chips for lunch, by this stage in the walk even chips were a welcome sight.

After a couple of hours downtime, Stewart Percy provided entertainment with a ‘hut quiz’ with ‘Don’t eat the Salad’ being the winning team. The winning team enjoyed their prize of Chocolate raisins after they were tracked down to a certain young lady who had accidently taken them! The evening was concluded by a singing concert from the porters and everyone joined in.

Another day on the mountain comes to an end and, as I now knew, much tougher days are to come. Summit day looms!

Blog 6 – Andrew Hitch

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We awoke on day 4 refreshed from a relaxing afternoon post our acclimatisation walk and fond memories of the pub quiz. The summit had been tantalisingly revealing itself over the ridge behind us and we were now preparing to hike towards its base at Kibo. By now the heath-like gorse and majestic cacti were giving way to barren scrub. As we walked towards our next camp, the landscape became martian and we recognised the vista that had been chosen for our Whatsapp group. The clouds cleared and we could see Kili, brown and steep before us, with the long and winding path across the Saddle separating it and Mawenzi, a craggy mountain reminiscent of a scene from Lord of the Rings.

This was a beautiful day, we could see the mountain clearly, the walking was largely flat and we were adjusted to the altitude, but the barren landscape had one major drawback. There was little cover for calls of nature. One person hid behind a rock only to discover that the path circumnavigated the rock revealing their location to all. There shortly followed possibly one of our most memorable meals as our porters produced lunch amongst a pile of boulders. Mashed potato, pasta, vegetable curry. We were left in no doubt that we needed to carb up! Great grub, great food, great company.

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We traversed the Saddle and headed up to Kibo. Some of us were beginning to feel the affects of the gradually increasing altitude and hoped the acclimatisation day tomorrow would put that to rights. A last pole pole climb into the Kibo camp saw an end to the days hiking but we found a camp, that was a pale imitation of the comfort we had experienced in Harambo. The new huts were unfinished with cement bags piled up at the bottom of the steps to gain access and Darren had to get a ladder installed so he could access his hut. Dan, Ben and Lydia took the short straw and stayed in the communal huts below. There they witnessed an American family depart the camp that night with two young children to attempt the summit when the children were clearly unwell. Needless to say the children had to be carried off the mountain by the porters and there was little sleep had by our three volunteers. We were all reminded that this final ascent needed to be taken seriously and listened to Dr D and Darren a lot more intently. Add to this, the whole area was now covered in a foot of snow. We went to bed praying for a clear day tomorrow.

Blog 7 - Kili blog Thursday – Iain and Beth Foster

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Woke up to a snow covered Kibo camp, it all looked lovely, but it was still snowing!

Later start - breakfast at 8 for 9am start. Second acclimatisation day hike today, up to 5,200m then back down to camp for some rest before final ascent at 11pm. 

Learnt at breakfast that the American family, with 3 young children, who overtook us on the way up from Horombo on Wednesday, had not made the ascent. Well Mum and kids hadn’t because the kids had been really ill, 1 had passed out, but Dad still went to the top! That really shows the benefit of the additional acclimatisation day.

Sadly one of our number had to turn back after suffering from significant altitude sickness. We miss her bubbly personality already. She will be waiting for us at Horombo hut on the way down.

Acclimatisation walk was very wet, mainly snow and varying temperatures, sometimes too hot then too cold. Met many people who had just been to summit coming down. All were very encouraging. Back at Kibo hut by 12 for lunch at 1 and to try to dry our wet clothes.

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Lunch, again amazing in the conditions as everything has to be carried up the mountain-rice, pasta, potatoes and veg.

Darren’s briefing - will be warm so no down jacket but will need waterproofs!

We all tried to sleep in pm.

Dinner at 6.30 and then we met for cup of tea before departing for the final ascent at 10.30pm. Good luck all!!

Blog 8 – The Walk of Victory – Archie Robertson

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24 of the team summited onto the Kilimanjaro Crater at Gilman’s Point at 06.03h.

21 went on to summit the highest point in Africa - Uhuru Peak – 5895m at 07.03h all feeling safe and well, feeling tired but triumphant.

At the start of the day the team were already on their way from the camp at Kibo. A line of head torches filed up the mountain, excited but apprehensive and just a bit cold. The snow fall from the previous day made route finding difficult but our guide showed all his skill and experience in keeping us on track and keeping us at a pace slow enough for our lungs to manage above 4700m. Cloudy but dry weather was ideal for ascending as temperatures fell only slowly.

By 3am and over 5000m, temperatures were falling to -7c and the air was getting ever thinner. One porter was available to assist each team member. They are astonishingly hardy, one did not have gloves, others had only street footwear. Some team members handed their sacks to their porter to make ascent easier.

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At 5300m, with the help of porters, some of us were struggling to the point where they could not continue and had to descend for thicker air, having discovered their limits. Those remained continued to ascend even more steely, requiring a little work through the rock field just below the summit. At this point there were signs of day light. Our own team was opened out over 100m and we could see other groups dotted over the mountainside hoping to reach Gilman’s Point.

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At 06.03h, the first of our team reached Gilman’s Point with just enough energy to punch the air and shout encouragement to others. As dawn broke with red streamers in the sky, we filtered on to the summit, a very tight little platform where another group was already celebrating. One team’s arrival was interested by another charity team carrying a bicycle!! Well done them!

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We manage to find enough energy for photos and a celebratory drink. But there is no time to linger. Some plodded on with water frozen and some chose to descend. The main group are rewarded with the achievement of Uhuru Peak at 07.03. Quick photos and hugs – lets get out of here and the long descent to Gilmans Point enroute to Kibo hut begins.

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We broke informally into fast, medium and slow groups and hiked our way down through slopes, encountering rain lower down. The first of the Uhuru group gets back to Kibo hut at 11.30am damp, tired and dehydrated. We regroup, rest, eat, pack up and get off again for a further 3 hour trek down to Horombo huts for our overnight stop.

All are elated, very tired and quiet and one is suffering enough to need extraction to Horombo by an unique local wheeled stretcher. A testing but successful day for all, some with over 15 hours on their feet having ascended 1200m and descended 2200m ---- we did it!

Blog 9 The walk of victory – Stewart Percy

All downhill from here as we leave Base camp 2 and head out for our 39124 steps (my Iphone info) down to the gate. Leave at 9.15. It’s wet underfoot but everyone is smiling and happy. Lots of chatter behind and in front. A different mood than any other day.

As we descend with chests puffed out, we inwardly laugh at those making their way up pole pole style as we skip past them. Everyone looking forward to a first shower in a week - Boy we must smell and as I write this, I realise the longest I’ve ever been before that was 3 days.

A few stumbles and brown stains on pants (Mr A Little) and a few other tumbles (Nick H) but in fairness the stones are wet and uneven. Knees are creaking all round but we push on and by now split up to small groups as you can’t get lost . Or can you? Mike and Stewart manage to stroll onto the porters path whilst chatting about sport. They are soon sent back.

And then suddenly it’s there. Straight a head. The Gate! Yes that gate, the finish!! l cross the line with Dr Debs. Big hugs all round as we join the other 15 or so down. I can see some fancy bottles of fizz and true excitement kicks in. No alcohol on the mountain, so 7 days for us all with not a drop.

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We clap the others home and soon we are complete. A toast to Emery Little. Photos with guides then sign out of Kilimanjaro park and off to the trucks but not before a final sing song from the porters . Just brilliant. Jambo. Jambo bawne we all hum away.

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Back to lodge and a shower. Pure heaven. Dinner and speeches and the famed Mount Kilimanjaro certificate . Gold dust. It’s over. A challenge like no other - Hard in so many ways. But rewarding in so many . Am I glad I did it ? Yes ---------- Would I do it again? Let me sleep on that 😁

 

Blog day 10 – Mike Gatrell

Sunday.

After a good nights sleep and showers enjoyed to the full by the EL team, the staff try to clear the drains!

A nice sunny day in Moshi. Some on safari, some departed on further adventures, some at the bar, some missing assumed in bed. Various burns, scrapes, unaccountable minor swellings being nursed.

Notable first on the alcohol- Nick “jogging” till pickup time.

Notably last to appear - Adrian, dark glasses and very much the worst for wear.

Paul the teams professional cameraman - “the sun is not in the right place”. Doubt even the Angel Gabriel can help you there Paul.

Those who went on safari had a good time seeing plenty of wildlife, while those who remained in the hotel watched the rugby or just chilled.

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Then the highlight of the day on the way to the airport, a glorious clear evening revealed a spectacular view of Kilimanjaro with the peak covered in snow. It put the enormity of our achievement into perspective - just wow!

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Waiting in the airport lounge, the Hicks upped their game from a jog to a sprint finish while watching the Mancunians (under the leadership of Ferguson) hang on to draw with the scousers with Klopp aka “jaws”.

Our team free-loading scouser blagged his way to a free upgrade while the rest of us roughed it.

Amsterdam airport entertainment provided by a wide ranging discussion on bodily functions experiences on the climb - it’s hard to beat toilet related humour.

Heathrow and hugs all round to complete a fabulous experience

Blog 11 – Debbie Kingston

What an amazing day! It was worth getting up at 6.00am to ensure my bags were all packed. Early breakfast, then off in a jeep driven by Elias, with Dr Debbie, James, Colin and Ben. I would be lying if I said we were all on top form! Nothing like a combination of alcohol and an average of 4 hrs sleep to ensure folk were not quite feeling their best.

It was about 1.5 hrs drive to Arusha National Park. Elias then lifted the roof, and we went into the national park. Less than 5 minutes later, we could just see three giraffes by the side of the road, quickly followed around the next bend by a grassland area with many zebra, warthogs, and buffalo.

Elias then took us to the Mikindu observation point at the edge of the crater (approx 1600m), passing quite a number of baboons. Using James’ binoculars we could see a herd of buffalo, but they were at the far side of the crater.

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It was soon time for lunch - Elias took us to a viewpoint overlooking some of the lakes inside the national park for us to eat our picnic and enjoy the sunshine. As we headed back down the road to a different section, we saw about 7 giraffe in the distance. Elias thought we might be able to get closer if he drove further along the road. We kept stopping, they kept moving until we reached more open section. At this point we realised it was many more giraffe, as we counted at least 17, all different sizes. It was amazing to see them cross the open land, to watch their gait, occasionally having them pause to touch noses. We also spotted an antelope far up the hill, as well as warthogs. Just as we set off again, Elias had to stop for two giraffe crossing the road. As we waited, most of the herd came past and crossed in front of us, so we ended up surprisingly close to them.

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We then drove down to the lakes, seeing more giraffes, water buffalo and zebra, as well as pink and white flamingoes (two different species who co-exist). Just after we turned back, we had a “Zebra Crossing”. Our final stop was the Fig tree, and arch made from a germinated fig seed in the fork of a tree, whose aerial roots have made it down to the ground, strangling the original tree in the process.

It was then back to the main gate, and back to the hotel. We were back just after 4.00pm, leaving just enough time to change out of dusty clothes and repack bags prior to our departure to the airport.

It was definitely a great way to end a fabulous trip.

Andy’s Reflections on an Amazing Week

Wow, what an amazing week!  When dreams came true - it is special.  When your expectations are hugely exceeded it is quite emotional.

Team EL 21

Team EL 21 was in part, 30 of us made up of 27 Emery Little trekkers, plus 3 honorary members, guide Darren, Doctor Debbie and Amy from Classic Challenge.  The age span was 25 to 72.  I was in the privileged position of knowing virtually everyone.  For everyone else, the majority of the group were strangers.  A challenge on its own you might think, but no!  What a supportive, caring and fun group of people that we all thoroughly enjoyed spending the week with.  Many strong bonds and friendships were made.

Jambo, Jambo Support Team

The 30 of us would have had very limited success without our Tanzanian support team which was 65 people strong!  Porters, chefs and so many others.  What a slick well oiled machine the locals were.  They smiled, they taught us songs, they fed us, they smiled, whatever our needs, they supported us and still they smiled.  Wonderful happy people.

Summit Night

I had been preparing a long time for this night.  As Archie has explained, the conditions were extra challenging in the snow.  Having said that, I was feeling strong and focused until I ran out of water perhaps an hour away from Gilman’s Point.  Within 15 minutes, I was really struggling.  Ali Assa, one of the porters took my ruck sack.  I was later told he didn’t have walking boots and was repeatedly falling over behind me!

My struggle was getting worse and worse despite all my training, my legs were going.  The next day I was told that, at times, I looked like a new born pony!  The terrain before Gilman’s point is very challenging, rocks, slippery with the snow.  I could feel myself getting emotional, I didn’t think I was going to make it.

My prayers were then answered when Gabriel, came to my aid, or, ‘The Angel Gabriel’, as I nicknamed him!  Gabriel relieved Ali of my rucksack and provided the support and helping hand that I needed.  Gabriel not only helped me to make it to Gilman’s Point, we also reached Uhuru Peak together and he ensured that I got down safely.  I will be forever grateful to my Angel Gabriel.

Altitude Sickness

In the bar after our celebratory dinner, I had a chat with our brilliant guide Darren.  I explained that I needed to understand what had happened to me.  I was confused when I thought I had put enough training in.  ‘You realise that was altitude sickness’ he said.  No I didn’t, I thought I had just run out of gas.

Lesson

If you are ever climbing Kilimanjaro buy a 3 litre water hydration system not a 2 litre!

Fundraising

Thank you so much to everyone who has so generously supported us.  I am literally blown away by how much we are raising.  The challenge really was so hard.  I feel we all earnt your generous donations.  If you haven’t donated yet, please do.  This was the hardest challenge we had all taken on and our 3 charities are so deserving of your support.

Thanks Andy   

Team EL21’s Final Individual Quotes

  • It’s not mine, it’s Sir Edmund Hillary’s but it’s always meant a lot to me: ‘It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves’ - Colin K
  • Asante Tanzania kwa uzoefu mzuri - Andy O
  • Getting to the summit and having a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit - Heather E
  • We did it! It was satisfyingly hard - Archie R
  • I don’t know half of you, half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you, half as well as you deserve - Mike G
  • If I added up my seven marathons into one event, you begin to get close to how tough summit day is! - Adrian K
  • I had the MOST amazing time!  Definitely one of my top 5 experiences in life! - Jo R
  • Proud to have been part of your challenge Andy, well done for having the courage to make it happen - Paul E
  • Crazy difficult but great to have achieved.  Well organised and amazing amount raised -Ian M
  • An awesome experience with a great group of people and thank goodness for the porters who are LEGENDS – Stewart P
  • A truly unforgettable experience!  A kaleidoscope of emotions and memories only made possible by a lovely eclectic team of people – Simon H
  • I keep imagining five Snowdons piled on top of each other outside my house, I can’t see the top in the clouds but that’s how high we climbed – Nick H
  • Wow – what an amazing adventure with old friends and new!  Although I didn’t quite make it to the top, I was with everyone in spirit.  What a great team we were and we have life long memories that we will treasure forever!  Thank you for making it possible Andy – Sara H
  • I have climbed mountains before, but that final climb up Kilimanjaro has to rank as the hardest ever summit day I have experienced.  I will leave you with this thought “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love” - Debbie K
  • Tiring, amazing, brutal, exhilarating, inspiring and most of all emotional and seeing Andy appear at Gilman’s Point made the whole experience worthwhile – Graham F
  • What great team spirit, what a splendid achievement!!!  It would not have happened without the splendid team of Tanzanian ‘locals’ – both porters and guides who unstintingly helped us up and down the mountain - Paul G
  • In one week we completed our challenge, raised significant amounts for charity, made great friendships, gained such support and encouragement from the porters – and most importantly perhaps, recognised how fortunate and blessed we all are – Beth F
  • Brutal, Extreme, Epic! A huge big tick in the box.  Thank goodness for the wonderful support from the group and our team.  A challenge never to be forgotten – Laura S
  • Grateful thanks to all as an amazing group of strangers, at the beginning, who became great friends by the end.  To Darren and Debbie for your support, advice and motivation to push us on.  To Shaban, Gabriel and porters for everything and to Ali for almost carrying me down the mountain on summit day.  We shared toilet stories, menus, aches and pains, jokes and the pub quiz.  I will never forget the journey and what we put ourselves through, physically and mentally – Sore Lips Babs
  • What an amazing once in a lifetime experience.  It evoked every emotion imaginable but overwhelmingly it was joy and comradeship.  Thanks to Andy for the idea and thanks to Darren, Debbie and especially the fantastic guides and porters for making it possible – Iain F
  • What an amazing experience! The view of Mawenzi Mountain from Gillmans point was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  And sharing this experience with my family makes it all the more special – Ben M
  • Personally not used to travelling with big groups but my word the support from everyone was just so amazing…At any of the points up to the summit, I could easily have turned around and had enough physically/mentally but seeing everyone as well on the same determined goal, made it easier to push that one painful foot in front of another.  Well done everyone, so far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Great comradery, great banter, great memories – Lydia Sick Ninja
  • Kilimanjaro is the mountain of dreams.  Climbing the highest, freestanding mountain in the world changes lives.  Once climbed, you return home touched by its magic -  Darren Tour Leader
  • Skiing down the mountain with bro, snow powder spraying, stopping only to have a mild panic at not being able to catch my breath.  Anything is achievable, nothing is truly waterproof – Dan M
  • This challenge loomed ahead of me for many months and became bigger than the mountain itself.  As I walked those first few days from the gate, I knew that I was not alone in the challenge and would be supported throughout.  This has been a life affirming encounter with the brutality of nature and the warmth of new found friends – Andrew H
  • I joined the trip for the adventure and Kilimanjaro certainly didn’t disappoint, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the belly laughs nor the generous friendships which will last just as long in my memories as the mountain – James P
  • Champagne moments 1) When Simon and I saw Elia’s shadow through the mist and I realised we were all down safe to Kibo. 2) The moment on day 1 Lydia told me she’d only worn her boots once because they’d caused her blisters! – Dr Debbie
  • The climb was an emotional rollercoaster for me and the unconditional happiness and support from our guides and porters really kept me going – Josie M
  • A once in a lifetime experience shared with a fantastic group of people.  Memories and bonds created that will last forever – Amy P