In October, Kevin Chilcott embarked on the ultimate challenge - climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, to raise funds for our Charity.

This year Kevin’s father had a heart attack and as a result, Kevin witnessed first-hand the excellent care and dedication provided by everyone at Harefield. His father-in-law was also cared for by Harefield for several years before sadly passing away in July. So far, Kevin has raised an amazing £865 and will be match-funded against the total amount!

In a three-part blog series, Kevin shares the story of his journey to the top of Africa's highest mountain.

Days one and two

We met our group of 13 at Heathrow prior to13-hour flight to Kilimanjaro Airport, and then on to Hotel in Moshi.

Here, we were to also meet our head guide, Raha, an infectious personality who outlines the massive task ahead of us, and the extensive support team that would assist us along the way. This reinforced to me that individually, whilst Kilimanjaro would be by far my biggest challenge to date, I would also be driven by my determination to succeed for Harefield Hospital.

Saturday began with a cracking hotel buffet breakfast, something that we weren’t to experience again for the next five days! Then....we’re off, a 30-minute minibus transfer to Machame Gate, where we await admin clearance to begin our challenge, this would prove to take 2 hours!

Finally, at approx 1.30pm we begin our slow ascent through the cultivation zone (similar to British woodland), accompanied by the soon to be familiar African phrase of ‘Pole, Pole’ (slowly, slowly), the accepted way of overcoming the altitude issues associated with Kili.

Although already familiar with trek logistics (having completed Machu Picchu with the same company last year), I continue to be amazed by the sheer hard graft of porters, carrying absolutely everything from camp to camp in advance of our arrival later in the day.

As we progressed we bonded together, all united in a quest to conquer Kili in our own way.

Soon another chant is to emerge, one to accompany us on future days, and provide motivation when its most needed;

Raha: ‘Team Raha’, Group: ‘oh ha’

Raha: ‘Team Raha’, Group: ‘oh ha’

Raha: ‘Happy people’ Group: ‘Happy lives’

Raha: ‘Happy people’ Group: ‘Happy lives’

Eventually, the camp is reached and after evening meal we settle into the first of several nights restless sleep in our small tents, anxious for the days ahead.