A former scout whose love of the great outdoors began with walks on the West Highland Way is planning his biggest challenge – Kilimanjaro.
Craig Gourlay (26), a fitness instructor who lives in Bearsden, is climbing the mountain 6000 metres above sea level this June in aid of the charity Childreach International.
The charity aims to improve children’s lives in innovative ways. In Tanzania, where the mountain is, a school is largely unused as children are being forced to work the land to help feed their families. The charity is providing seeds and tools and creating a farm alongside the school, so the children can get an education and still earn money for their families.
Craig is funding his flights and the holiday section of the trip himself, but is also hosting a fundraising night in Windyhills Golf Club on March 28 for the charity.
He said: ‘‘I was in the Scouts in Milngavie and grew up hill climbing - the West Highland Way was on my doorstep. As I got older the walks got further and the challenges got bigger.’’
Kilimanjaro is four times as big as his previous personal best challenge, Ben Nevis.
As well as doing ice climbs to prepare for some of the conditions, Craig is training 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.
‘‘As a fitness instructor I have quite a good level of all round fitness,but you need to practice for the altitude.
‘‘If you go running no matter how tired you get you can still breath and easily get more oxygen. Swimming underwater trains your muscles to cope with less oxygen.’’
His training routine is being incorporated into another fundraiser, as he is the Allander Centre’s representative in a Marie Curie Breast Cancer 5k swim. The fundraiser takes place at his work and Craig jumped at the chance to help out and aid his own training regime.
To sponsor Craig’s Kilimanjaro trip, or get tickets for his own fundraiser night at Windyhills Golf Club, Bearsden, call him on 07875 126 135 or email craig firstname.lastname@example.org. He would also like to thank his sponsors so far, and the people and firms who have donated prizes.