How Reflections helped a local couple reach the top of a continent!

Plenty of people trying to reach the highest point in Africa!

Local couple Adrian and Caroline Close have thanked us for helping them reach the summit of the highest mountain in Africa.

CHESTERFIELD residents, avid readers of Reflections and outdoor enthusiasts, Adrian and Caroline Close, used the hikes featured in the magazine as part of their training regime to reach the top of Africa.

Walks like ‘Climb the stairway to stunning views’ – an 11-mile hike from Edale – and ‘An iconic walk through history’– a 7-mile trek around the Longshaw Estate – to name a couple.

Adrian and Caroline trekked to the summit of Tanzanian mountain Kilimanjaro – at 5,865metres, (18,651ft), the highest freestanding mountain in Africa – at 6.30am on Adrian’s 55th birthday, just in time to watch the sun rise!

“We took eight days to climb the mountain taking the Lamosho route which, in our opinion, sounded the most interesting,” Adrian said. “It is the newest and longest route and starts at the Londorossi Gate. On day one, we trekked through the dense rainforest with troops of Colobus Monkeys playing in the treetops, watching us watching them”.

The journey then moved through the vast expanse of heathland across the Shira Plateau, and onto the Lava Tower at 4,630m (to acclimatise) before tackling the Great Barranco Wall and heading to Base Camp. 

“The Barranco Wall was one of our favourite sections of the hike,” Caroline said. “It was a very steep and rugged part of the hike, taking a narrow path that hugged the side of the mountain with a steep drop to the bottom of the valley to our right. At one point you pass the ‘Kissing Stone’!! It’s called that because you have to hug the rock face so closely that your lips touch the stone – or you fall off.”

When we arrived at Base Camp, we had lunch and then it was off to bed to get some sleep before our mammoth overnight hike. We woke at around 10pm for dinner – mainly pasta and chips – then set off at 11.30pm to head for the summit. It took us seven hours to climb the last stretch and we’ve never seen so many people being carried off a hill before. Altitude sickness was taking its toll!

“Adrian started to show signs of altitude sickness at around 4,500m but it wasn’t as bad as others we saw,” Caroline said. “After a short break, some ginger tea and some deep breaths, we cracked on and thankfully made it to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa.”

As well as the beautiful and rugged scenery, another impressive aspect of the whole experience were the teams that get you to the top, all paid a decent wage, all catered for, all included and respected by the hikers, and all tipped well for their efforts. They even made sure Adrian had a birthday cake the night of his birthday at Mweka Camp (the last camp before you descend to the Mweka Gate and head off back to a great lunch and a much-needed shower). 

In fact, when we arrived back at the hotel in Moshi, we were taken to our table for a late lunch which was great. Thankfully there weren’t many sitting near us because we could smell ourselves and it wasn’t good!

One of the biggest lessons we learnt was that it’s not just the physical fitness that counts, it’s the mental fitness – the story you tell yourself on your journey. The positive self-talk that feeds your mind and the pictures of friends and family that you carry with you in your mind. That’s what gets you to the top.

Would we advise others to do it? Absolutely, as long as you’re prepared!

Would we do it again? Definitely!

Editor’s Note: Adrian has now been asked to talk to local groups, businesses and schools about their journey to the top of Africa, which he does voluntarily.  Any group,  business or school can get in touch with him to arrange a talk at