7 October 2011 – Kilimanjaro Starts Here!
Tonight some of the Kilimanjaro team head to Fort William for a weekend of learning. Learning about each other, learning about Kilimanjaro and learning about why it is far more appealing to climb a mountain in Africa in the Tanzanian summer than it is to climb a big lump in Scotland in the Scottish mid-winter (you think I am joking? The Glencoe ski lift opened yesterday, and its further south!!!).
I will be bedecked in my new walking attire. “Ladies and Gentlemen, next on the catwalk is Bryn, Bryn is wearing a merino wool base layer and matching long johns, with a posh fleece.’ I am sure they aren’t called long johns but it is the only way to described them. They are made of wool. They are grey. They have an elasticated waist. They are long johns. I haven’t got a dictionary to hand but I bet that is the definition.
Our Official Kit Supplier for Kilimanjaro is Tiso, a chain of specialist outdoors shops which are primarily based in Scotland, but have set up in Belfast and Newcastle. I think whoever decides the locations of new shops is a Premier League Darts fan because they are also in Glasgow and Aberdeen. That’s four of the League venues covered!! I think the Outdoors Specialist slogan is a cover for them to be indoors at the darts! No-one would ever think to look for them there! In their long johns.
The people at Tiso are great. I went into buy boots and the guy was not convinced I needed them as my current boots may be adequate and I may be changing them for no good reason (or is that changing my currant boots for no good raisin?). However, that being said, I did leave with a pair of long johns. Just cause I have a disease of the elderly, it doesn’t mean I need to wear the underwear of the elderly.
Our individual fund-raising targets are £3000 and the youngest member of the team, Aimee, has raised £3300 already, and she still has to have her main fundraising event!!). I think she has solved both of her Grandparents in to slavery to raise it, but, as I always say, it is a great cause!
So the plan for the weekend is to have a few beers tonight and have an early night (about 4am), and get up at 6 to watch the Irish gub the Welsh in the rugby. Then I will put on my long johns, have brekkie and climb Ben Nevis (weather, polar bears and avalanches permitting).
After the climb (and descent) we are having a talk on climbing Kilimanjaro by Chris Vind who has climber many of Africa’s peaks, including Kili and Mount Kenya.
On Sunday we will have a short walk in the morning before heading home.
Remembering to take my long johns off first.
16 October 2011 – Launch Time!!
The Ben Nevis weekend was brilliant (when we were in the pub and restaurant), brutal (when we were in the rain, wind and snow on the mountain) and great fun. The new faces were fresh and enthusiastic, the old were grey and worn out, all hoping the cure arrives soon so they can go back to the lives they had before they made the rash commitment to support what I do.
They assumed I would get bored. How wrong they were.
On the Saturday night, we had a talk from Chris Vind, an experienced climber, at The Alexandra Hotel. It was fascinating and made us realise that the mental challenge is at least as great as the physical one, and team work is essential. We are extremely lucky to have Gavin Hastings going up the mountain with us. The night before the Great Scots Cup he briefed the celebrities in the bar at Cameron House. He reminded them what this is all about and to be at the Loch Lomond slipway at 8am the following morning. There was general shouts of derision as he sat down and most of them stayed up until about 2-3 in the morning. But at 8am they were all there. In ridiculous trousers.
Monday sees the launch of our Greatest Climb campaign in The Scottish Sun with five days of media coverage of the climb and particularly Jen Reoch’s campaign to raise £100k towards a cure for Parkinson’s. Every year, Miss Scotland has an appeal (The Tiara Appeal) and Jen is determined to be the first to break the £100k barrier. I think she will raise way more than that.
For the record, News International have embraced Wobbly Williams and Parkinson’s whole-heartedly. There are easier and more fashionable causes than ours to get involved with but they backed Jen’s choice and will deliver a spectacular campaign. Thanks to Yvonne and Georgie for their terrific support.