Two outdoor enthusiasts from Leven are currently on the ascent of Africa’s tallest mountain, in a climbing quest for charity.
Jim Parker and Mike Scott are takcling Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, on behalf of Make-A-Wish Foundation UK.
I’ve never done anything so ‘far out’ as climbing a mountainMike Scott
The charity aims to help make wishes come true for children and young people who are battling the effects of life-threatening conditions.
Both men are experienced open-air sportsmen and devotees of the great outdoors – but neither has ever done anything like this.
Jim (49) and Mike (45) are away with around half a dozen other people on a 14-day visit organised by Mountains In Mind, a group run by a friend of Jim’s who is also a mountain rescue team member.
They are following the Machame route to the summit, which is probably the most popular and widely-followed path, as it’s considered slightly easier at some points than other recognised routes.
However, it’s still a formidable task – Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing peak in the world, at a shade under 6000 metres, and has four different climate ‘zones’, with the temporature varying from 30 degrees at the foot to minus 20 at the top.
For this reason, once they reach the summit, climbers have to begin the descent almost immediately, because of the extreme cold and shortage of oxygen.
If all has gone well so far, Mike and Jim should have covered around 16kms and be preparing today (Wednesday) to travel another 10km.
Jim, group office owner of Fife Properties, climbed Munros as a teenager and had a sub-conscious hope one day to try Kilimanjaro, so he was looking forward to the trip.
He often participates in outdoor challenges and has been training intensively on the rowing machine, treadmill and mountain bike.
“I do training for triathlons and I’ve done Olympic and sprint triathlons, but this is a totally different thing,” he told the Mail.
“This is my 50th year as well – I thought the chance to do this is there but I’ll probably never get it again because everything is coinciding at the same time.”
Mike Scott, who said he’d “always been an outdoorsy kind of guy”, told the Mail he was “swinging from being apprehensive to being excited” about the trip.
Mike, an operation shift supervisor with Shell Ltd at Mossmorran, has walkedthe West Highland Way a couple of times and is regularly out among the hills and peaks of Fife, while he and Jim took part last year in the Pedal for Scotland cycle event between Edibnrugh and Glsagow.
“I’ve never been to Africa before and I’ve certainly never done anything so ‘far out’ as climbing a mountain,” he added.
Online donors have already pledged over £1400.