Oct 10 2012 by Caitlin Black, Harrow Observer
A BLIND woman has completed an adventurous climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tackling the arduous 19,340 foot climb with Linda Gaitskell was her sighted friend Peter Roberts, 61, who she met through a walking group.
The 56-year-old of Maryatt Avenue, South Harrow, and her companion completed the mission in eight days.
She said: “It was brilliant, I loved every minute of it. It was challenging, but it was worth it. The hardest part of the trek was the last bit to get to the summit. It was really cold and it seemed like we were walking forever.”
Ms Gaitskell, who lost her sight at the age of 19 through glaucoma, ran a marathon in 2009 and has been skiing for 12 years.
Climbing for six hours a day, it took them five days to get to the top of Africa’s highest mountain and three days to descend.
Ms Gaitskell said: “Some people think that if you have a disability it makes you less able. I think that having a disability can sometimes make people more able. I would not be this fit without my personal trainer, Frank Neafcey. He made me do lots of step ups and leg work before I went on the trip.”
The pair raised £2,200 for Parkinson’s UK after Ms Gaitskell’s friend, Peter Flanagan, died from the disease two years ago and Mr Roberts’ sister, Cathy Blainey, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s more than 15 years ago.
Despite the gruelling trek, Ms Gaitskell now hopes to participate in the Inca Trail in Peru, a 26-mile mountain climb in South America.