RAF Benevolent Fund supporter Winnie Draper recently completed a trek to Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for our work. Winnie tells us more in this guest blog.
I've recently been studying a MSc in Aerospace Dynamic at Cranfield University and I was also a member of the University of Birmingham Air Squadron from November 2010 to August 2013. Climbing Kilimanjaro was something that was on my bucket list of 'things to do before I die' and I thought it would be a great opportunity to travel and meet new people from all over the world.
I choose to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund as it is my wish to join the RAF in the future, so to do something for a charity which looks out for the welfare of serving personnel and their families was very fulfilling.
The experience of the trek at times was mentally challenging (especially on summit night when the temperature dropped to -10 degrees celsius and oxygen levels were half that of sea level), however whenever I'd see a porter who was carrying more than me and walking up and down the mountain faster than me, I never allowed myself to complain.
Everybody on the team, both the other participants and porters, were very supportive of each other and it was incredibly fulfilling and worth every second when we reached the top and saw the 360 degree view of the landscape.
Never in my life have I been in an environment where I've felt a little bit of heaven standing above the clouds. I saw the most beautiful sunrise ever on New Year's Day with glowing colours rising over another mountain peak. I would thoroughly recommend this trek to anyone who loves an adventure and I'd gladly do it again given half the chance. For me it was one of the best experiences of my life so far.
By Winnie Draper
Want to do a trek to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund?
Take part in an open trek or challenge by Discover Adventure.