Training for Kilimanjaro (in London)

Kilimanjaro is about five and half months away.

Possibly the hardest hillwalking route you can do in London for Kilimanjaro training
Possibly the hardest hillwalking route you can do in London for Kilimanjaro training

There are about 20 of us signed up for the trip, many of whom don’t look like they’ve walked more than a mile in the last ten years.

And quite a few of them have brand new boots and clothing which is going to be a little sore on the first use.

The summer has been lovely so far, so we decided to go for an evening walk to wear in the boots and ‘practice walking’. It’s all a bit bizarre, so I decided to invite everyone to Highgate – probably London’s hilliest area. I cycle through Highgate every day, so I know the tough hills (although I’ve never walked up them) and some good routes.

This was the planned route, although we ended up doing Swains Lane twice. It was one of those hills that a few of the guys found hard, got to the top, and wanted to do again. Fair game.

Incidentally, a friend of mine trained on this route for L’Etap, the cycling event during the Tour de France. You know when you’re ready for L’Etap when you can cycle up Swains Lane five times in one session, staying seated all the time.

It was a nice evening’s walk. It started off by raining, but still very warm. Clothing choice ranged from head to toe waterproofs, to Marc & I wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Actually, I wore my cycling waterproof as well while it was bucketing down (I arrived on the bike) and Marc didn’t bring anything waterproof at all.

Between le-soaking-de-Marc and other incidents, the walk was good natured with a healthy dose of banter. Those other incidents were mainly related to a dozen of us (all male) walking up a private road alongside Hampstead Heath in pairs…

Oh, and at the start of the walk I asked Matt if I could put something in his backpack (he was the only person who brought one). He turned around, I untied his backpack and quickly put a brick inside. Unfortunately none of us could keep a straight face so he worked it out straight away.

I’m not sure anyone’s fitness improved, or tested their equipment well enough, but if we were leaving for Kilimanjaro tomorrow, I’d be comfortable going with this rabble.

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