A WOMAN who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of her late husband says she felt like the Queen when her guides staged a special celebration to mark her achievement
A WOMAN who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of her late husband says she felt like the Queen when her guides staged a special celebration to mark her achievement.
Margie Barrass, of Greys Road, Henley, completed the challenge in Tanzania in seven days, accompanied by her son Barney and nephew Andrew Smith.
So far they have raised £3,000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust — her husband Jonathan died of leukaemia in 1995.
Mrs Barrass, 66, said: “It was an amazing feeling to do it. The last part was really difficult. We had to walk through the night and it was very, very cold.
“We were woken up at 11.45pm and the stars were amazing. The sun rose at about 6am, which was just beautiful and made it a little easier walking after that. We got to the summit at 8.15am.”
The trio passed Stella Point, which is at 5,740m, before reaching Uhuru Peak at 5,895m, the highest point in Africa. During the climb, their guides had advised the trio to pace themselves so they could adapt to the higher altitudes and conserve energy.
Mrs Barrass, a mother-of-three who works as a part-time sales assistant for John Lewis, said: “We stayed in tents along the way and there were no facilities. Our food would be cooked for us in our tents and it was all very clean.
“We had two wonderful guides who said all the way that we were going to do it — ‘poly, poly’, or slowly, slowly. It was quite an emotional moment when we got up there and we each had a beer and a big hug.”
The trio then made their way back down the mountain where they were given a surprise welcome. Mrs Barrass said: “When we were almost back at ground level our chief guide, McCloud, assembled our porters and other guide, Samuel, outside our two tents in very much Gareth Malone style to sing us the very special Kilimanjaro song, complete with choreography!
“I felt very privileged and just like the Queen because they were so pleased to do it for us. Afterwards each one shook our hand and congratulated us on reaching the summit. It was a very special and moving moment for all of us, which we were delighted to be able to film for posterity.”
Mrs Barrass, who is a member of the Henley and Goring Ramblers, said it took some time to get over the climb.
“My hair was so bad my son said I looked like Shaun the Sheep,” she said. “The best thing was having a hot shower when we got back.”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Barney-Andrew-Margie