He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. Muhammad Ali
Vicki Dillon texted me these words in advance of Kilimanjaro. They are very apt this morning. The courage Liz Ryan showed over the last two days has been incredible. Six weeks ago she had an operation on her knee and has been in severe pain. In the last two days she has scaled the height of Ben Nevis at high altitude. With a smile, a love of life and a determination like I have never seen.
She returns with her husband, Chris, to the Resort today. Foiled by a dodgy knee. Liz, you are in inspiration. Enjoy your 61st birthday tomorrow. I will wear your brooch to the top of Kilimanjaro.
Day two was good. I managed to get 4 – 5 hours sleep. We were treated to singing and dancing by the porters and guides before we set off, it was brilliant. We gave a feeble rendition of the Flower of Scotland in return.
The walking was upwards along rocky paths. Again Kilimanjaro was visible at dawn but shrouded in cloud the rest of the day. It was a hot day, many applications of factor 50 sun cream. We have, however left the mossies behind. We walked from 9 to 1.30. Liz struggled with the terrain but the team delayed lunch to wait for her and Chris to arrive. With the backing of the porters and porters performing once again, we Formed a guard of honour and clapped them home.
I was very emotional for the rest of the day. After lunch we climbed up the hill behind second camp to acclimatise.
At dinner we had a cake for Liz and I managed to say a few words without bursting into tears. Early night because it’s raining buckets.