A local woman and her friends battled altitude sickness, jetlag but avoided any blisters as they conquered the Inca Trail.
Diane Christie from Lisburn travelled to Peru along with Hilary Anne Christie, Mia McKeown and Pat Murtagh to make the epic 24 mile journey over four days.
The expedition was to raise funds for local charity Dementia NI and weeks of training in the Mourne Mountains clearly paid off. The team completed the journey and were thankful for a period of good weather which made the challenge even more rewarding.
Speaking to the Ulster Star, Diane said: “We had no blisters which was quite amazing! We all suffered from mild symptoms of altitude sickness from headache, sore throat and slight difficulty breathing.
“However we gave ourselves enough time to acclimatise before we started the trek which worked well. We were walking on average 8-10 hours per day.
“We were very fortunate with the weather, we didn’t have any rain when we were there, the steps are very uneven, when it rains they become quite slippy.”
“Climbing to 4200m on the second day we could really feel the difficulty walking at altitude. However, symptoms were all manageable with a few headache tablets.
“The Inca trail was a challenge lots of steps up and down but the training in the Mournes really helped with this.
“None of us have felt any adverse effects since apart from inevitable jet lag.”
She added: “The views when we were in the cloud forest were amazing.
“The sense of achievement when we reached Sungate and viewed Machu Picchu for first time was one I won’t forget in a hurry. The Inca Trail is amazing and something I will never forget, sometimes the views kept you going. You realised you were very fortunate to see what you were seeing.”
After such an incredible experience, Diane and the team want to continue with the fund-raising but might stick to something not as far away.
Diane added: “Certainly a once in a life time opportunity but it has made us all go what can we do next? We might maybe try and do something closer to home.
“We will have to think now what the next thing could be.”
Diane had hoped to raise £1,500 for the charity but already she has passed this with the total standing at an incredible £2,000.
To donate to this very worthy cause visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/diane-christie-2