Recently a group of 25 people of all ages and from all over Ireland took on the daunting challenge of scaling the peak of Kilimanjaro. Among them was Kilbrin native but now resident in Liscarroll, Veronica Egan and it was all for a very good cause, the Irish Heart Foundation.

Having completed the first part of the expedition when they arrived in Moshi, the group set off the next morning for the Machame Gate. The Machame route approaches Kilimanjaro from the South through dense tropical rainforest all the way up to the mighty snow-capped summit and the route is described as being tough but rewarding.

It was October and it rained for the first two days to the surprise of the group as the rainy season does not normally start until November. Spirits were low by the second night as rain gear was no longer rain proof and tents, mattresses etc were wet. However, on the third morning it was brilliant sunshine and fabulous views of the mountain ahead.

The fourth night was summit night and the group left the camp at midnight. For the next 7 – 9 hours they trekked the steepest and most demanding part of the mountain by torchlight before the long and gruelling trek brought them to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point on the African continent at 5,898 metres. The morning sunlight gave a spectacular view of the plains below and the trekkers felt on top of the world.

Having captured the moment on camera, the leg weary group began to beat a retreat down to

Barafu Camp and a well night’s rest before resuming the descent to Mweba Gate and back to the hotel for a long awaited and much appreciated shower. For most of the group it was thoughts of home and Ireland the following day except for Veronica a few fellow travellers and who detoured via Zanzibar.

Each of the group fundraised on behalf of the Irish Heart Foundation and had been set a target to each raise €5,000. Through bag-packing, a wax night and sponsor cards, Veronica raised €5,812. “I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped and donated. The money raised will go towards much needed services for people suffering with heart conditions and the Irish Heart Foundation is a very worthy charity,” she told the Vale Star on her return.

Commenting on the trip Ms. Egan concluded” For anyone thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro, I would say that it is a tough and challenging trip but everyone in the group agreed afterwards that it was a fantastic adventure and well worth doing.”