Simon is one of our ever growing fundraisers to have completed both of our Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya treks.
Having returned from the trip of a lifetime including summiting Kili with an amazing group of people it took me a whole 2 DAYS to sign up for Dig Deep’s Mount Kenya challenge taking place the following year.
Spending the previous year thoroughly enjoying putting on fundraising events individually as well as with my fabulous team at Birmingham (including some great team socials along the way!) all looking forward to the reward of an East African adventure at the end of it, I knew I wanted to repeat it all over again to avoid a feeling similar to that of heading back to Uni for January exams after the Christmas holidays!
Climbing Kili was all about the challenge for me, something I wanted to tick off my bucket list and achieving it was incredible. What the trip also did though was show me another part of the world so different to what I was accustomed to but somewhere I couldn’t wait to return to.
For me, Mount Kenya was less about the challenge but more about enjoying the experience; appreciating the stunning views on each day of the trek (and boy is it beautiful!) as well as understanding more about the country itself and the work Dig Deep does to improve the lives of the people living there.
On Day 1 of the trek we walked through the forest which you share with countless baboons and beautiful birds. Day 2 we left the forest and trekked across the moorlands, up the famous vertical bog and along the Teleki Valley where the snowy peaks emerged infront of us.
The next day was a short acclimatisation hike which we topped up with countless hours of hysterical laughter playing games in the cabin and learning native song and dance which we planned to perform at the summit the next day!
SUMMIT NIGHT! We got up in the early hours of the morning to the most amazing star-filled sky and began heading up the winding path to the summit. The sun began to rise a few hours in making the peaks glow red and we started to see where we were and the spectacular view across the African plains.
That feeling of being on top of the world when you get to the summit of a mountain is unbelievable and we celebrated with a performance of our newly learnt song and dance accompanied (led) by our head guide Patrick!
The descent was just as spectacular walking past the many lakes amid the dramatic mountain-scape before we were greeted by more excitable monkeys playing around the camp! It was an amazing trek, so beautiful and I had the best time with the best group of people who are definite friends for life!
What I was especially looking forward to when I signed up to the Mount Kenya trip was the project visit. Following completing the trek itself we then had the opportunity to go to Malek community and visit one of Dig Deep’s projects and see first hand what a difference the money we raise can do.
It was amazing to see how happy and proud the students and staff at the school were of their new water source and how they had set up a shop to sell it to the surrounding communities.
I was told by James that they had managed to raise enough money from this to cover the costs of the repairs and service without the need of any external help which I thought was brilliant and hit home how sustainable and worthwhile these projects can be when implemented and managed correctly.
It showed me that the time and effort I put into fundraising was so so worth it, not just for my own incredible experience of climbing Kili and Mount Kenya but for the impact that this money will have on so many more lives in Kenya.
It was an experience I will never forget and I can’t recommend it enough, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience which also gives you a lifetime of experiences all at once.
Inspired? You can Climb in 2018 with the only UK charity who has 'Partner for Responsible Travel' status from the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Have the experience of a lifetime whilst raising money for our vital water and sanitation projects. http://www.climbforcleanwater.org