INTREPID adventurer and charity fundraiser extraordinaire Allyson Morrow has returned from her latest venture to Mount Kilimanjaro.
At the end of last month Allyson climbed the highest mountain in Africa in aid of Marie Curie.
She told the ‘MAIL’: “There were highs and there were lows, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to endure. It was a mental, emotional and physical test - a roller coaster ride.”
Allyson was part of a group of 30 taking on the mountain. They began their trek from Naremoru Gate on Sunday, September 18. By Tuesday night they had reached Mawenzi Tarn at a height of 4,295 metres.
Allyson said: “This night was the worst I have ever experienced - the camp site was nicknamed “Middle Earth” as it was so destitute, it was also a lot bigger.
“Here a lot more people emerged together as they had trekked from different routes up until then. This also meant a lot more sickness. It was at this camp site that the first of our group became seriously ill with altitude sickness. This lady had to have medication via injection so it would get into her system fast enough as she was about to go into a coma, then a quick descent, thankfully whenever I saw her again a few days later she was fine.
“Temperatures dropped to minus 10 that night, not something to relish when you’re in a sleeping bag in a tent. The altitude had started to affect a lot of people by then, it was not a good night for anyone.
At midnight on the Wednesday they donned their head torches and set off for the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Allyson recalled: “There were literally thousands of people, all with the same intentions, unfortunately a lot of them were sick so as you can imagine the mountain was not a pretty site.”
The group trekked to Gilman’s Point 5680m on the rim of the volcanic crater for sunrise. At this point Allyson started to feel a bit shakey. She said: “I was very unsteady on my feet and even trying to co-ordinate one foot in front of the other was a hard task. Whenever I reached Gilman’s Point I did seriously think that I mightn’t be able to continue to Uhuru Peak 5895m. It was a further two hours away.”
She added: “This was a very emotional time for me, I was thinking about my family and everyone who had supported me. I have two very good friends who have close relatives receiving treatment for cancer at present and I felt as if I would be letting them down if I didn’t summit.”
Allyson pushed on. She said: “I couldn’t have done it without the help of one of our African guides, who literally walked with me one slow step at a time. How those guides summit that mountain two to three times a month I will never know.”
On Thursday, September 22 at 5.45am Allyson reached the summit of Uhuru Peak, a height of 5,895 metres.
She said: “This is something I will never forget as long as I live, I had some very low and lonely moments on that mountain and am really glad to be back home to my family and friends.
“A special thanks to my husband Stephen, who supports me with everything I do, thanks to Lisa at Experience Fitness, Fiona at Blackstone Physiotherapy and thanks to Paul and everyone else for all the help with the fund raising for Marie Curie. I cannot thank everyone else enough for all their encouragement and support.”
To date Allyson has raised £4173.00 for Marie Curie.