Blind climber tackles Kilimanjaro

4th Oct 2012

A blind British climber has reached the top of Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro.

Linda Gaitskell, of Harrow, is also a running enthusiast and has completed 10k runs in addition to the London Marathon.

The 56-year-old said: "I love a challenge. Once I get something in my head, I have to do it. I won't be stopped! That's how I decided to climb Kilimanjaro."

The mountain is the tallest in Africa, reaching some 19,340 feet. It features a varied and challenging terrain of agricultural land, forest and Alpine moors.

She trained for the climb together with personal trainer, Frank Neascey, who has been assisting her for the past five years.

She said: "I can't thank him enough. Without his help, I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have."

The fitness fan completed the challenge in eight days, together with her friend Peter Roberts.

Ms Gaitskell described the most difficult part of the climb as the final nine-hour walk to the mountain peak.

"Just before we got to the top, I wanted to shout and scream with excitement, but once we'd got there, it felt really strange," she said.

Ms Gaitskell lost her sight when she was 19 after developing glaucoma. She took up her latest challenge to raise cash for the charity Parkinson's UK.

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