Nigel Varndell standing at the peak of a mountain in Scotland

When it comes to thinking about a honeymoon, most people opt for relaxation and leisure, perhaps with something as energetic as a swim in the pool thrown in for good measure. 

What most people don’t think about is spending eight days sleeping in tents, in the cold, climbing the highest mountain in Africa.

But while I sat comfortably on my sofa in the warm months before my wedding, my fiancée asked me to join her in fulfilling her childhood dream of climbing Kilimanjaro.

I somehow ended up saying, 'Yes, I’ll climb Mount Kilimanjaro on my honeymoon. Why not?'.

Besides, I figured, in addition to fulfilling my fiancée’s dream, I could make the climb for a worthy charity.

I understand why people choose a relaxing honeymoon

Now with just a few weeks before my wedding and honeymoon – and an ever-growing collection of thermal underwear, fleeces and waterproof jackets – climbing Kilimanjaro is beginning to look like a really stupid decision.

Why? The entire climb takes eight days. Chances are I will get altitude sickness at some point. Up near the summit the air is so thin that people have to rest every ten paces just to suck in enough oxygen to carry on. The average temperature on the summit in October is -6.

The final assault on the summit, which can mean walking for 14 hours, starts at midnight! Just to top off the good news, not everyone makes it to the summit anyway.

Then again I am doing the climb to raise money for our work here at The Children’s Society. So the work, lack of oxygen and altitude sickness will be worthwhile.

Please sponsor my climb – all donations support vulnerable young people

I’ve set up a Just Giving page as a way of generating donations. Please give - all donations will go directly to The Children’s Society.

I chose to give to the charity because over the last three years I have had the privilege of meeting children across the country who are helped by our programmes and projects. I’ve also spoken to my colleagues about the work that they do, and the changes that happen in the lives of the young people we help.

The more money I raise by climbing a mountain, the more of this kind of life-changing work can take place . . . and likely convince me I chose the right honeymoon destination after all.

By Nigel Varndell, Director, Church Partnerships

Read more and take action

By Nigel Varndell - Director of Church Partnerships
Nigel Varndell
- Church team

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