What started out as a friendship holiday for housemates Amy Walkers and Jo Carter has turned into something special after raising more than £2,000 for charity.
Amy and Jo (both 27), originally from Spalding and Bourne respectively, walked up Africa’s highest mountain to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support as a thank you for the help given by the charity to both their families.
The pair were part of a five-strong party to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on a six-day trek last month, but only now is the scale of their achievement dawning on them.
“It was the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever done but also the best thing I’ve ever done,” Amy said.
“Jo and I had been thinking about doing it for about two years after I’d been looking on some travel websites to find out about Africa.
“Mount Kilimanjaro is quite iconic in climbing circles and after I told Jo about it, we just decided to go for it as a way to raise both money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support because both of our families have benefited from their work.”
Amy and Jo prepared for their challenge by walking in the Peak District and Wales, although nothing could have prepared them for the altitude and freezing cold temperatures they faces during their trip.
Amy said: “The first day of the trek was OK because we had time to acclimatise before a four-hour walk uphill which wasn’t as steep as I thought it would be.
“It was really cold when we camped at night as I was only wearing one layer of clothing when I was in my sleeping bag.
“On the second day, we walked for six hours through rainforests and barren vegetation which wasn’t too hilly, but it was very hot.
“I never felt that I wanted to give up but the trek was so hard and there was another four-hour walk on the third day.”
Boredom was an unlikely factor that Amy and Jo had to cope with, but there was a consolation in the form of the “amazing food” they were served.
“Each meal had three courses and it was amazing what our guides could make on the side of a mountain,” Amy said.
“We started the walk to the summit at midnight on the fifth day and by the time we got to the peak, all I wanted to do was eat.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, but I’m not sure I’d do it again.”