Introducing Kate our new guest blogger

Welcome to Kate our intrepid new contributor to the Taunton Leisure blog as she tackles a fantastic challenge to  climb Kilimanjaro in aid of Save The Children.

Over the weeks we will be following the planning, training and kit choices as the preparations for the trek in October gather pace. Now it’s over to Kate……..

Introduction – ‘Couch to Kili……… in 20,000 not so easy steps’

So how do you train for a life changing experience like a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro?   Allow me to rephrase that.   How do you go from self-confessed chocoholic, movie buff and all round couch potato – to being able to tackle the world’s highest free-standing mountain?  
Well you need a plan.  I thought there were 3 critical parts to ensure success:
1. Being fit enough to enjoy the challenge.
2. The right kit to make the experience as easy and comfortable as possible.
3. A very good reason to do it.
Getting fit
Talking to people, all the advice I received seemed to be that the best training for something was doing that thing.  So that meant lots of walking. Not just walking but ‘Marks & Spencers’ walking! The trek is in October and therefore I have 4 months to prepare properly.  Everyone says that the fitter I am the more I am going to enjoy my Kilimanjaro challenge.
What Kit for Kilimanjaro
I decided to pick people’s brains.  On my lucky side is to have parents (to protect their privacy, lets call them Pablo and Cecilia) who love the great outdoors.  They have been enlisted as my personal trainers for the next few months ?.  As Cecilia is a trained mountain leader, I know that all of her advice and help is going to be completely invaluable.  I have a limited budget but I want the best kit possible.  I don’t want to waste money but I do want to be properly kitted out.
I need a cause to keep you focussed and driven.  Please let me to explain……
When I turned 30 in March, I knew that now was the time to achieve my two lifetime ambitions – to learn the Michael Jackson Thriller dance routine and to achieve something amazing.   The former is pretty easy, just visit YouTube and search for Thriller and you’ll find a hundred videos teaching you.   I hadn’t a clue how to go about the latter.  Until I read an advert on my works internal Intranet asking for volunteers to complete a charity trek for Save the Children.  
We are aiming to raise funds for the Save the Children FAST (Families and Schools Together) project.   It aims to help children in poverty in the UK get access to educational materials to help give them a better start for their future.   I am personally aiming to raise at least £4,000 for such a worthy cause.  
The longest journey begins with a single step:
I am very fortunate to live in Devon, right on the edge of one of the most beautiful national parks – Dartmoor.   It was only proper that this would be my training ground. I wanted an  training plan with lots of little goals I could tick off along the way and I came up with a plan to ‘bag’ at least 100 tors – including the top 20 highest.  I wanted long walks to build up the stamina and fitness to walk uphill for 6 hours a day.  
So, as I said earlier,  how do you get from couch potato to mountain trekker?   This is my story of how I’m doing just that………. and if I can do it, anyone can!
Enjoy!    Kate J

Next week – So, I need what kit exactly?

If you would like to help support me in my challenge, you can sponsor me by visiting

If you would like more information about the amazing Save the Children FAST project, please visit the Save the Children website on

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