Preparing for Kilimanjaro
A friend of mine, Angela, heads to Kilimanjaro in September. As part of her preparation, she invited me to go on a training walk to Snowdon. Now Jason and I have taken the plunge, and booked our own Kili challenge, I didn’t take much persuading.
On the Edge
This was to be no normal walk up Snowdon however. Oh no, in the interests of making it as realistic as possible, Dave our guide, has us scampering (or crawling in my case) up craggy hillsides, clambering over rocks and slate and wading through bogs and waterfalls. This is no walk in the park!
Why am I doing this?
I am seriously doubting the wisdom of my commitment to Kilimanjaro, as late in the morning, I find myself out of breath and in danger of cramping up. I curse Angela for urging me to come along, and myself for not bothering to question what was in store for me. After all, Snowdon has a perfectly acceptable, sensible path to the top. Surely any sane person would opt for that route?
Dave is clearly insane!
Small problem! It seems Dave is not quite so sane! Firstly, he has summited Kilimanjaro not once, but 47 times!! Wowsers!! Furthermore, he has innocently agreed to take me on a walking trip which involves large drops, a lot of ups (‘just one more little up‘, Dave, we know!) and sliding down wet rocks on my bum. Let me tell you, a wet ass and skin tight running leggings is not a combination you should try! It is also liable to transform sweet little me into a scary grump!
This calming, good-natured chap seems to take everything in his stride however, meeting mutinies (NO MORE UPS, Dave), mini meltdown threats (see Tunnels of terror for more) and endless calamities (Angela!) with reassuring calm and the odd sarcastic comment.
For anyone considering a trip to Kilimanjaro, Dave’s training walks are a wealth of invaluable information that will help you prepare for the challenge of a lifetime. You will have the chance to make new friends, improve your fitness and test your body. Although our challenge is some considerable time in the future, I know I have a tendency to pick up repeat injuries and strains in my back, and calves. This was abundantly clear to me during the steeper sections of the climb and reminds me that I will need to focus more on yoga and strength building than just pure running sessions!
A walk may help you find your own achilles heel. Better to identify it in safe territory and give you ample opportunity to overcome it.
In addition, Dave shares advice and tips on how to pack a bag (please can you educate Jason!) and what items you must not leave without. He knows how to turn an unassuming travel accessory into a fashion icon, and does a mean passive stretch to ease those screaming calves! He even gallantly ties shoelaces!! I’m actually a bit gutted that I didn’t join one of his walks before we booked our Kili trip!
Back to nature
If you opt for a Snowdon walk, you will likely take in some isolated routes. We saw a mere handful of other hikers during our
obstacle course trek! We were fortunate enough, that despite the odd shower, the weather remained clear, and we enjoyed stunning views of Anglesey and the valleys.
Of course, given the off the beaten track route we followed, you won’t get to enjoy a steaming mug in the Snowdon cafe, or a pint over lunch in a Snowdonian pub. Your ‘bathroom’ is mother nature’s living room (best get used to it right?) and your shelter is any wall or rock you can find. Even in summer, it is a good idea to bring a hat and gloves!
Why you should join a training walk
Now joking aside, I highly recommend joining one of Dave’s walks. Hell, if you are thinking about ticking Kilimanjaro off your bucket list, go ahead and book the whole shebang with him. This guys knows his stuff and even if you have no desire to go to Africa, you will still have a great day out with like-minded people, who quickly bond over botty burps and shared misery! I am definitely going back for more (‘sadist‘, says my alter ego!).
A personal plea
As many of you may know, Jason and I are climbing Kilimanjaro on behalf of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. The Himalaya of fund-raising efforts sits between us and Africa, so if you can find it in your heart to give even a £1, I would be so so grateful.
Alternatively, if you are based in the UK and fancy coming along to our Black Tie and Tiaras Charity Ball, just get in touch. It is going to be a suave affair, and an opportunity for you to dress to impress. Get out your shimmering tiaras, your sequins and jewellery and break dry January in style!
What’s your next challenge?
Maybe you have already climbed Kilimanjaro and have some awesome training tips you can share. Or maybe you are contemplating your own bucket list challenge. I would love to hear from you. Just pop a comment below and start the conversation.
Disclaimer: Please note this is not a sponsored post. I paid the full price for the training walk and all views are honest and unedited.