On Top Of The World

Iva made it to the top!

Iva made it to the top!

ON TOP OF THE WORLD AND BACK

FOR ME 2014 HAS BEEN A TURNING YEAR TO SAY THE LEAST.

IN MID 2013 I HAD DECIDED TO CLIMB THE MOUNT KILIMANJARO IN AID OF RAISING FUNDS FOR THE YOUNG EPILEPSY, CHARITY CLOSE TO MY HEART.

I CHOSE THE YOUNG EPILEPSY FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS BUT THE MAIN REASON BEING THE FACT THAT I HAVE SUFFERED FROM IT AS A CHILD HOWEVER THANKFULLY I GREW OUT OF IT.

WHY MOUNT KILIMANJARO? IT WAS A HUGE CHALLENGE FOR ME TO OVERCOME AS A SIGN OF SUPPORT TO CHILDREN AND ADULTS SUFFERING THE CONDITION ON A DAILY BASIS.

IN AUGUST 2014 I SET OFF WITH 24 OTHER THEN STRANGERS, NOW FRIENDS, ALL RAISING MONEY FOR THE CHARITIES CLOSE TO THEIR HEARTS.

THE TRAINING WAS NOT EASY.WORKING FULL TIME AT THE HSDP,  I  WAS ONLY ABLE TO TRAIN IN THE EVENINGS IN MY LOCAL “ENERGIE” GYM IN THE WEEK AND EVERY WEEKEND I HAVE BEEN GOING FOR 8-13 MILES WALKS ACROSS THE SOUTH DOWNS.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO KNOW ME I AM “ALL OR NOTHING” KIND OF GIRL SO WHEN PEOPLE ASKED IF I HAVE DONE ANY OTHER MOUNTAINS LIKE SNOWDONIA…. AND I ANSWERED NO I OFTEN GOT SOME WORRYING LOOKS.

8 DAYS SLEEPING IN A TENT WITH A COMPLETE STRANGER WITHOUT SHOWER OR BATH JUST A BOWL OF “WASHY WASHY” AS IT WAS CALLED (SMALL BOWL OF WATER AND BABY WIPES FOR THE WHOLE DAY) AND USING A PORTO LOO WAS ALL PART OF THE EXPERIENCE.THIS IS FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER DONE A DAY OF CAMPING IN HER LIFE AND GIVEN A CHANCE LOVES HER 4+ HOTELS.

EVERY DAY HAS BEEN A FULL DAY OF TRACKING ,WALKING NO LESS THAN 4-5 HOURS BUT MAINLY AROUND7-8 HOURS .THE LOCAL PORTERS WERE AMAZING THEY LOOKED AFTER US IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY WITH 3 MEALS AND SNACKS EVERY DAY AND IF NOTHING ELSE BY SINGING TO US TO KEEP OUR MORAL UP ON A HARD DAY.DAY 1 AND 2 WERE HARD AS WE JUST KEPT WALKING,STILL TRYING TO ADJUST AND ALREADY YOU COULD START FEELING THE EFFECTS OF AIR GETTING THINER.THE BREATHING GOT HARDER AND MINOR EFFORTS BECAME MORE OF A TASK.DAY 3 WAS FULL ON HARD WORK AND I LOVED IT. WE CLIMBED UP THE ROCKS UP THE BARRANCO WALL IT WAS A FULL BODY WORK OUT AS YOU HAD TO LITERALLY GRIP AND PULL YOURSELF UP USING UPPER AND LOWER BODY STRENGTH.

DAY 3 ALSO GAVE US A FIRST VICTIM OF ALTITUDE, LOVELY FRAN WAS TOO ILL TO CONTINUE AND HAD TO RETURN TO BASECAMP AND HOTEL.EMOTIONS HAD BEEN FLYING HIGH AS BY NOW WE WERE TIRED AND LOSING ONE OF US WHO WAS A STRANGER ONLY A FEW DAYS AGO , SEEMED LIKE WATCHING A FRIEND HAVING TO GIVE UP.

SUMMIT NIGHT STARTED AT 11.30PM!! AND WITH A “SNAKE OF” HEAD TORCHES WE FOLLOWED EACH OTHER THROUGH THE DARKNESS TO OUR FINAL DESTINATION.THE AIR WAS SO THIN, YOU EITHER WALKED OR TALKED.EVERY BREATH WAS GETTING HEAVIER AND HEAVIER .TEMPERATURE HAD DROPPED DOWN SO MUCH THAT EVEN MY WATER IN MY INSULATED WATER BAG HAD NOW FROZEN.ALL THE YEAR AND A HALF OF TRAINING AND TIRELESS FUNDRASING HAD NOW COME TO ITS GOAL BEING SO NEAR.

JUST WHEN IT SEEMED THAT THE NIGHT WOULD NEVER END WE CAUGHT THE GLIMPS OF SUNRISE APPEARING IN THE DISTANCE AS A SIGN OF POSSIBLE NEAR FINISH LINE.BY NOW I WAS REALLY STRUGGLING TO BREATH AS EVERY OUNCE OF MY ENERGY HAD BEEN USED UP.ONE OF THE GUIDES TOOK ME ASIDE TO ASSESS ME AND TOLD ME THAT THERE WAS ONLY AROUND 40 MIN TO THE FIRST SUMMIT POINT.I DUG DEEPER AND FOUND ENOUGH ENERGY TO CARRY.WE FINALLY REACHED THE “STELLA POINT” AT 5756 M AND THE ADRENALIN TOOK OVER.I HAVE NEVER FELT SO OVERWHELMED WITH PRIDE AND A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT. THE VIEWS OF GLACIERS WERE AMAZING.

WE SOON AFTER REACHED THE FINAL AND HIGHEST PEAK OF THE MOUNT KILIMANJARO “UHURU PEAK AT 5985M.

I HAVE NEVER CRIED SO MUCH FROM THE FEELING OF JOY AND SENCE OF ACHIEVEMENT LIKE I DID IN THE LAST FEW DAYS.

WE WALKED BACK DOWN FOR 5-6 HOURS AND AFTER THE LUNCH WALKED FURTHER TO OUR LAST CAMP ,BEFORE THE NEXT DAY GOING FOR OUR LAST WALK RETURNING TO THE BASECAMP.

I HAVE RAISED OVER £5600 IN AID OF YOUNG EPILEPSY BUT I HAVE ALSO GAINED THE MOST SPECIAL EXPERIENCE THAT HAS INSPIRED ME TO CARRY ON CHALLENGING MYSELF WHILE HOPEFULLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE TO OTHERS.

AINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH …..

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