Christmas Dinner On Kilimanjaro & Rwanda Trek 2006
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On Our Return Home

5th January 2007

As I suspect you will know by now, our trip to Kilimanjaro over Christmas was successful and we managed to have our formal Christmas dinner on the mountain on Christmas Day and also after drinks on the top on Boxing Day.

I would like to thank all of you who sponsored me for your support. I find it difficult to put into words how much all your help has meant and I hope that this letter will go some way towards expressing my gratitude. The amount raised currently stands at a grand total of £6,165 for Marie Curie Cancer Care (including Gift Aid received from the Government).

If anyone hasn’t yet seen the daft pictures that prove the trip, or any of the news coverage, it is all available on the website (including the embarrassing Calendar News and BBC Radio Leeds interviews!).  The main pictures are also, in all their ridiculous splendour, reproduced below:

Dinner On Kili

How we did it:

After an arduous four days in cold wet tents, sleeping in cold wet sleeping bags and trekking for 8 hours a day in thunderstorms, rain, sleet and blizzards, we successfully held our formal Christmas Dinner at Kibo Huts on Christmas Day, in the shadow of Kilimanjaro and during a brief interlude in the weather, at 15,500ft.

On Christmas Day evening, at 11:00pm, we crawled out of our tents and prepared for the summit push by the light of our head torches.

The weather had changed and the stars were out – it was a beautiful evening but very cold – dropping to -8oC not including wind chill.  Finally, at 8:00am on Boxing Day, after a difficult ascent in deep snow, we watched the sun rise over Mawenzi and had our after dinner drinks at Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 18,638ft (the cigar is actually a stick I picked up in the rainforest for theatrical effect … it was, of course, a strictly no smoking party!):

After Dinner Drinks

Tired, but pleased with our efforts, we set out on the long descent to reach the sanctity of our hotel in the valley below two days later.  I was so overcome with emotion to be reunited with my friends that I took a photo of them (see picture below):

Beer bottles

After the mountain we went on to Rwanda which was a very moving experience. The memory of the genocide of 1994, where over one million people were killed is, just under the surface, in the minds of everyone you meet. The museum and the graves were shocking … but it is a very beautiful country with wonderfully warm, colourful and generous people.

Rwanda is an inspirational place – and we also had time to visit the gorillas of the Virungu National Park , high up in the rainforest.

The chap below is a 250kg adult male who charged at us beating his chest and growling. I have never been so scared, but we held our ground as instructed (it wasn’t dissimilar to facing a Yarnbury prop forward!) and he stopped three feet short and then retreated.

Silverback Gorilla

All in all it was an amazing experience … but most of all lots of money was raised for Marie Curie Cancer Care for which I have you to thank.

Thank you again for listening and for your support.