MORAY fundraisers have just returned from an emotional trek up Kilimanjaro.
Hazel Robertson and friends from Keane’s Stars, a local children’s charity, completed the Kiltwalk up Kilimanjaro with over 30 other intrepid walkers from Scotland.
Hazel, from Ardivot Farm, near Lossiemouth, whose grandson Keane Campbell suffers from a tumour on his optic nerve and is the young face behind the charity, was joined by friends Damon Harrison, Cath McHardy and Jill Morrison for the gruelling 5,895 metre climb.
Hazel, who completed the Speyside Kiltwalk last month, admitted the Kilimanjaro challenge was very difficult.
“We really thought we weren’t going to make it, the air was so thin, breathing was becoming very difficult and people were getting headaches and being sick due to altitude.
After camping at Kibo Hut, Hazel added: “Emotions were all over the place, we all burst into tears as we still had a bit of a hill to do. Sleeping at this camp was very difficult due to the thin air and temperatures were very low.”
Hazel admitted that at one point they were “frozen, disorientated, hallucinating and could barely breathe”.
“It was horrendous, we saw many people at this point being dragged back down the mountain as their heads and bodies were all over the place. I understand now that one person every three weeks dies, we were just very lucky that it did not happen to any of our 35.”
Hazel said visiting a local school at Moshi was a highlight of the challenge. The kiltwalk donated books, English dictionaries, an atlas and other items for the P1-7 pupils and gave them enough money to buy books for the next two years.
A piper, nicknamed Haggis, let one of the youngsters play his pipes which provided a real fun moment.
Keane’s Stars has raised more than £22,000 for The Kiltwalk this year, which could rise to £25,000 with gift aid.
The charity is holding a dinner dance on November 2 at the Mansefield Hotel in Elgin at 7pm. Tickets are available from Jenna 07980 137 062, Hazel 07973 436 528 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org