It was out of the blue that Lucy Wilkins decided that she wanted to take on a challenge, and a chance mention by a friend that she decided on trekking Mount Kilimanjaro. But when it came to deciding who to do it for, Treloar’s was the only option. Lucy’s grandmother is the great, great grand-niece of Sir William Treloar and the family have had close ties with Treloar’s for many years.
Lucy visited Treloar’s this week with her family to tell us all about her adventure and to present us with a fabulous cheque for £3,560. She told us about her experience:
“There were 30 of us in my group along with 116 Tanzanians - guides, chefs, porters, toilet 'engineers', campsite workers etc. We wouldn't have been able to complete the trek without any of them: the porters had to carry 20kg of kit and mostly they used their heads - they didn't even hold onto the equipment they were carrying! The guides were full of songs and encouragement the whole way through, teaching us Swahili phrases and words!
Each day was a new adventure, some longer than others but all with different terrain, difficulty and stunning views! The whole week we were staying above the clouds - it was incredibly beautiful to watch the sun set and rise, against them.
On Wednesday 21st we had an early dinner and tried to get some rest before our summit night. We were woken at 11pm by some of the Tanzanians but as we had got changed before we went to sleep, it was just a case of getting on our boots gloves and head torch and get ready to go! We had walked an extra 1.5 hours the day before to a closer camp than the other groups so we had a head start.
We started off in single file walking very slowly to make sure we didn't tire ourselves out too early! All you could see was the persons feet in front of you, or if you looked behind a lovely line of head torches, which looked similar to glow worms. There was no telling in how far you had walked or how far there was to go until the top. The group separated into different abilities, the air was so thin it only took a few steps to get really out of breath, but it was so cold that when you stopped it was almost unbearable...I thought I was going to loose my fingers and toes!!!
It was by far the most mentally challenging I have ever done, and was so easy to want to give up - I had a few breakdowns on the way up after the guide told me there was still 2 hours to the top of the first section! We finally got to the top of the steepest part - Stella Point - and met a few of my group at the top. We all set off for the final 200m to Uhuru Peak and as we were walking you could see the orange glow of the sun coming up to the horizon.
Finally at around 6am we got to the peak and saw the sign! All the feelings before that moment subsided and gave way to utter elation. The views of the glaciers, volcanic rock and clouds below were incredible and completely worth all of the pain of the summit night! It was still very cold so we didn't stay at the top long, (I'm sorry I couldn't take my coat off for a Treloar s T shirt photo!).
It took us about two hours to get down all the dust and scree before a nap prior to lunch. We then stayed one more night at about 3000m before making it back down the mountain on Friday 23rd to a party thrown by our Tanzanian team - lots of singing, dancing and food. They are incredible people and it was very hard to say goodbye to them - but it definitely won't be the last time I visit the country!
Kilimanjaro completely exceeded my expectations and will be an experience I treasure forever - all the more special for being able to share it with Treloar's - an incredible school and one special to my family, so I would like to thank you all so much for allowing me to raise the money for you!"
Thank you Lucy for taking on and smashing this challenge and for raising such a fabulous sum for Treloar's!!
If you would like to find out more about challenges for Treloar's please click here