Craig scales slopes of Killi for kids’ charity

An outdoor enthusiast from Bearsden has set out on his biggest challenge so far - to climb Africa’s highest mountain - Kilimanjaro.

Craig Gourlay (26) is a fitness instructor at The Allander Leisure Centre and grew up with the great outdoors - cutting his teeth with walks on the West Highland Way and more recently climbing Ben Nevis.

But now the former scout has set his sights on The Tanzanian mountain which is about four times bigger than Nevis.

Kind-hearted Craig decided to undertake the climb in aid of the charity Childreach International and has raised £3,000.

He said: “ I feel lucky to have grown up in a safe, educated and healthy environment, something many of us take for granted. But not everyone is so fortunate. Childreach International believes every child has the right to be a child. They are an amazing charity, workingin genuine partnership with local communities in the developing world to secure children’s most basic rights. It is their mission to improve children’s access to healthcare, education and child protection. It only takes £1 to buy 1kg of seed or to provide a year of healthcare for a deaf child. My goal was to raise £3,000 to support them and their work to build farms and water wells, providing sustainable aid to the region.”

Last Friday (June 5) Craig flew out to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam where, after acclimatizing, will spend six days climbing what is the tallest free standing mountain in the world.

At 19,341 feet there are vastly varying degrees of temperature, terrain and air pressure.

Before he set off he said: “I am under no illusion that this will be an easy task.”

As well as doing ice climbs to prepare for some of the conditions, Craig has trained his body to get ready for the reduced oxygen levels at high altitude by swimming up to 200 lengths a week at the Allander Centre.

He added: “As a fitness instructor I have quite a good level of all round fitness,but needed to practise for the altitude.”

He said that in order to get used to the thin air at the top of Kilimanjaro he has been swimming underwater to get his muscles used to coping with less oxygen.

To help Craig raise as much money as possible, you can contact him on his email at craig 2211@hotmail.com. He would also like to thank everyone who has sponsored him and to his friends and family who have been very supportive.