Francis’ scales heights in charity challenge

Francis Nugent at Kilimanjaro
Francis Nugent at Kilimanjaro

A Crumlin man has scaled the heights of charity fundraising by taking part in a gruelling trek to Africa’s highest peak.

Francis Nugent was one of a 28-strong party to ascend Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in what he later described as the experience of a lifetime.

“It was tough going, but well worth it,” said Francis, who not only made it to the summit and back, but raised £2,500 for Action MS into the bargain.

“We spent the first five days walking for around six hours each day, getting to last camp at Kibo (one of the mountain’s three volcanic cones) before getting ready for the final ascent to the summit at Uhuru Peak.

“The summit night was an 11.30pm start, getting to the summit at 7.30am.”

First climbed in 1889, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing mountain in the world, covering an area 100km x 65km in the Kilimanjaro National Park.

The summit at Uhuru Peak stands at 5,895m or 19,341ft, just over 2,950 meters shy of Mount Everest’s 8,848m or 29,029ft. The dormant volcano (the last major eruption from Kibo occurred 360,000 years ago) can be adangerous mountain to hike due to the risks of altitude sickness, a condition that struck down one of Francis’s party and prevented them reaching the summit.

The Crumlin man himself thought it best to let people know he had made it up Kilimanjaro and back in one piece.

The return journey from the summit was no picnic either.

Said Francis: “It was a four-hour trek back down to the camp, a short rest and then another four-hour walk back down to the next camp at Horombo Hut. Another seven-hour walk down the next day finished off the trek and and it was down to very welcome showers and rest.

“We had a great group of people taking part in the challenge. There were 28 of us involved and only one was unable to complete the challenge due to the altitude.

“To make things even better I have managed to raise over £2,500 for Action MS, with still some donations to come in.

“Hopefully this will go in some way to help Action MS in Northern Ireland.”