Climbing Kilimanjaro: Practice trek to the Highlands.
In preparation, the four of us hoping to command and conquer, like real men should, got together to do a practice trek. This is a quick update of our adventure in Scotland (my first ever trip to Scottish soil!).
First, meet our expedition team consisting of Huw Dylan, a War Studies lecturer at King’s College London, Chris Gribble a mega keen climber and hiker and my good pal and driving force behind the Kili trip, Liam Myron.
Our Trekking Route.
Day 1: 11.75 km (7.3 miles)
Day 2: 22.25 km (13.9 miles)
Day 3: 14 km (8.75 miles)
Total: 48 km (30 miles)
On day one we travelled from Glasgow to Corrour train station, from which we started our first leg of our Highland trek. After a little wind and rain the sun came out around 4pm and lit up the mountains!
With around 10-15kg of kit in my backpack the walking was quite a lot harder than expected. I’ve never walked long distance with a backpack before so my legs quickly became heavy, but I pushed on and the team kept a good pace. We over-nighted in a wind and waterproof shelter called a Bothy that sat right next to the Blackwater Reservoir. No phone signal, no distractions, idyllic.
Day two was a longer trek from the Bothy to a town called Kinlochleven, before heading on to shelter under canvas in a forrest 14km outside of Fort William (the village around Ben Nevis). The hiking got a lot more intense on day two. The decent into Kinlochleven was pretty gnarly on the knees and the ascent out of town forced us all to take frequent breathers…let’s just say we earned our food and rest. A particular highlight was finding a 11-12ft high boulder just off of our trail and solving the problem of how to climb it. Having spent a bit of time at the aches bouldering centre at London Bridge it was great to try things out for real, outdoors!
Day three was particularly tough for me. After deciding that we should avoid the rain if at all possible we got on the trail for 7am. Luckily this paid off. We missed around an hour and half of the rain which saved at least some of our kit from being drenched. The hard going mixed with my fairly new walking boots also meant that my feet began to chop up. By the end of the walk I was walking very tentatively into Fort William. But, the thought of eating Bacon, Haggis and downing a cuppa kept me going. Winning combo.
If you would like to donate any money to the Mt Kili Action Duchenne cause please take a look at my JustGiving page. Stay tuned for another couple of updates on preparations and the big trip in September!