A 5 am start with celebratory drinks at Bristol airport to mark a fellow climber’s birthday! We meet at Amsterdam with the London contingent and head down to Kili on an eight hour flight.
Team bonding in the hotel continues until 3am. Lodges that we are staying in are rustic.
Party of 18 of us heads off to a local school in Arusha where there are 1,500 well-controlled, happy, smiling children waiting for Bath prop David Barnes to arrive. The kids have never seen a rugby ball before.
We start simple fun drills with the children who have great hand-eye coordination. Major Alan Tindale already has his group doing press ups for dropping the ball. We spent a quality hour with 500 kids all being coached and having fun. We were then shown around the school by very proud teachers.
At 6pm we meet our guides. Ours is Frederick, who has summitted Kili 360 times! Teams of six or seven are organised and we start to ask questions about kit, altitude sickness etc. Excitement and fear are now evident in our conversations with each other.
Two years in the planning, 41 climbers and 165 support crew…bring on Saturday when we leave after breakfast for day one of the climb.
Stuart Doughty is an IFA at Centurion Wealth Management