Three adventurers from north east Fife and Angus are back at sea level after facing the challenge of their lives – climbing Africa’s highest mountain.
Suzanne Shaw from St Andrews, John Lamont from Tayport and Emma Burnett from Carnoustie were among a group of 18 people who conquered Mt Kilimanjaro in aid of the St Andrews-based Association for International Cancer Research (AICR).
Suzanne and Emma, who both work for AICR, threw themselves into training to get themselves ready to scale the 19340 ft. (5895 metres) peak.
John (29), who works on his father’s farm at Scotscraig, already had several summits under his belt when he read the charity’s media appeal for Kilimanjaro supporters and jumped at the chance to apply.
“My grandmother sadly lost her life to cancer and a couple of my friends’ families have also been affected,” he explained.
“I wanted to raise funds for AICR as it supports cutting edge research all over the world.”
Each has different recollections of what it meant to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.
For Suzanne it was everyone’s team spirit and the enormity of what they accomplished.
Emma reckons the lack of oxygen has left her with patchy memories of “a surreal experience.”
For John, it was the lasting friendships he made.
Lack of sleep was a challenge for all of them, particularly on the final push for the summit when they went to bed about 8pm, and were up again just three hours later.
Suzanne is convinced the support and camaraderie among the group are the reasons why so many got to the top.
“I think what we achieved really hit us when we were on the bus heading back to the airport,” she said.
“Someone pointed out the summit, almost covered by clouds, and we could just make out the outline of Kilimanjaro.
“We all fell silent then and that was the true moment when I really realised what we had achieved as a team and the fantastic amount of money we’d raised.”
Already the target of £30,000 set for the six-day trip has been well and truly smashed, but there’s still time to donate.
You can email fund-raising and events co-ordinator Suzanne at Suzanne.Shaw@aicr.org.uk or call the main AICR switchboard on 01334 477910.