The last five months have flown by. It feels like only yesterday that I tried walking to work in the snow that time, almost killing myself in the process. Since then I've climbed Snowdon, the peaks in the Lake District, Roseberry Topping several times, and I've made the 14 mile round trip to Thorpe Thewles via the Castle Eden Walkway more times than I care to remember. I must have walked over 100 miles in the gym on the highest hill setting, and I've swam countless lengths of the pool.
But is it enough? Have I got what it takes? I guess I'll find out soon enough.
Later today, Palma and I will be on our way to Nairobi. On Thursday we have a 6-8 hour drive across the border into Tanzania to look forward to. On Friday morning we will begin our walk in the rain forest and very early Thursday morning, June 18th, we will make our attempt on the summit (download the full itinerary if you want to follow our pain).
If AMS doesn't clobber us you can be sure that we'll do our very best to reach the top. But even if we don't make it (Neil Armstrong had to turn back, apparently!) we'll have a bloody good time trying.
Phone coverage is supposedly available on the summit and if I manage to get any messages back home they'll be posted on my Twitter feed.
It just leaves me to thank you for the support you have given to us. The kindness and generosity of friends, family, work colleagues and complete strangers alike has raised over £3800 (over £4,500 with gift aid!) for UNICEF. That's brilliant.
Just before I go, here's a final video blog that shows in detail what I have to take with me on this trip. It's just a shame I didn't film the ensuing fight with the kit bag where I desperately attempt to make it dimensionally transcendental...
I spent a fantastic Saturday on Red Pike mountain near Buttermere Lake with Palma and her friends Amanda, Dawn, Jackie and her husband Emlyn, who also acted as our guide. Brilliantly, he decided to inject some jeopardy into the day by taking us off the beaten track and into a fairly challenging descent that really tested my equipment, not to mention my knees.
I had a great time - the weather was incredible and the scenery was stunning (pictures available here) - and it also gave me a chance to play with my camera settings, because who reads the manual?. Unfortunately, most of the footage that I shot in the morning ended up being completely unusable, but, as luck would have it, as soon as we got "lost" I stumbled upon the optimal settings and what follows is a little taste of our day:
The unorthodox descent resulted in some invaluable training and it was great fun clambering over the rocks, heather and scree. It's given me a big confidence boost too - especially when I woke up on Sunday and discovered that the 8 hour trek didn't destroy my ability to walk straight. You know, I think I might actually be ready to do this now...
Click on the link above to be taken directly to our donation page. Your money goes directly to UNICEF. The expedition costs are not funded by your kind donations. Many thanks.
The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. more...