Four intrepid Forfar climbers are taking to the slopes of the world’s highest free-standing mountain to raise money for a children’s cancer charity.
Mike Stewart and his wife Shirley with friends Mark and LeeAnne Davidson are planning to climb the 19,341-feet high Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in May, 2016 to try to generate £20,000 for Clic Sargent.
The plan came about after a recent conversation between Mike and Mark regarding a challenge they could take on. Mark had suggested the Tough Mudder Challenge - a 12-mile obstacle course - but Mike suggested Kilimanjaro as an alternative.
He said: “I joked that if he wanted a man’s challenge we could climb Kilimanjaro. I’ve been out to Africa before and have seen it, and it’s a beast. Mark phoned the next day and asked if I was serious about it. When I was there before I said to my wife that we’d go back and climb it.”
None of them are under any illusions about how tough the climb will be and, at that time of year, temperatures can plummet to minus 20 degrees and wind speeds can reach up to 50 miles per hour.
The terrain on the mountain, the highest in Africa, is extremely varied and Mike said that on the eight-day trek their route will take them through five distinct ecosystems.
Mike continued: “We thought that if we were going to do it we’d do it for charity, and what better charity than Clic Sargent? LeeAnne’s also doing it in memory of her dad, who she lost to cancer last year.”
The group have set themselves an extended timetable to allow them to raise as much money as possible as well as to prepare as much as they can. They have already started their training regime with climbs all over Scotland and this weekend will attempt to climb five Munros in one day, which is expected to take them 11 hours. Mike added: “There will be a lot of weight training to strengthen our legs for walking and climbing and we’ll also have to deal with a lack of oxygen, but there’s not much you can do to prepare and there’s no telling how you’ll react to that.”
The group has set up a JustGiving page and anyone wishing to make a donation to their group’s titanic effort can do so at justgiving.com/mike-stewart2.