5th December 2017

Brother and Sister Scale Mt. Kilimanjaro

Brother and Sister Scale Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Brother and Sister Scale Mt. Kilimanjaro

For many families, a holiday is a chance to relax, read a few books and spend some time in a warmer climate. However, for Eilidh and Calum Macleod (S3 and S6), their family holiday was a little different this year. The family travelled to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and as Calum recalls, “it was nothing like a holiday in the sun”.

We caught up with Eilidh and Calum to find out more about their experience. Calum begins by explaining the different types of climates they trekked through over the course of their climb: “We set off in Kilimanjaro National Park, and trekked through the rainforest. It was over 30 degrees centigrade. We saw animals like monkeys and there was a think cover of trees. Five days later it was freezing cold - it was like walking through Arctic tundra” Calum recalls. “You’d go to drink your water, and it would be frozen solid!”

On summit day, the family set off around midnight. Calum explains how seeing the sun rise kept him motivated: “as the sun rose, you’d suddenly see we were above the clouds and there was this enormous glacier”.

Eilidh recounts how “the hardest part was the last day because we had to get up early to reach the summit. We made it up by about 8am and it was such an amazing experience, especially being there with my family.”

“My favourite part was definitely reaching the summit! And meeting all the lovely people who helped us, the guides were amazing; it’s like nothing I’ve ever done before”. Impressively, Eilidh is the second youngest person in Scotland to have scaled Kilmanjaro.

The hardest part for her? “Definitely the altitude. I was very short of breath and had stomach aches. I also didn’t wash for seven days which was pretty gruesome! I did have my dry shampoo with me, however. The shower at the end of the climb in the hotel was amazing!”

After the climb, the family spent three days in a home for local street children. Eilidh explains that “volunteering in the village was a great experience. They are so happy even though they have so little. And they were confused by my braces as they’d never seen them before!”

Asked whether they’d like to return, Calum replies enthusiastically: “I’m going to South Africa next year on a gap year, to work in a children’s home.” He’s currently trying to raise enough money to go, and still have a lot to raise. So far, he’s put on a fundraising party, and is hosting a lunch for some of his parents’ friends.

As for Eilidh, she explains “I had a great experience, but I think I’m done with climbing for a while!”

If you’d like to donate to Calum’s Just Giving page, you can do so here