50 Peaks in 50 Weeks (Conclusion)

Recap: Keith & Nicky Morris, having reached their 50th birthdays early in 2012, are climbing 50 peaks in 50 weeks to raise enough money to pay for 50 life-changing operations for people far less fortunate than themselves in rural Zambia.

50PeaksConclusion We literally felt on top of the world – standing on the summit of an extinct volcano in Lanzarote in the Canary Isles – because we had just completed our epic year-long 50 peaks in 50 weeks challenge, hopefully raising a sizeable amount for a great charity.

We felt we needed to do something completely different for our 50th and final landmark peak and a 3,000km trip to a sunny volcanic island off West Africa fitted the bill perfectly. We also managed a well-deserved week’s holiday at the same time, based in the wonderful Playa Blanca resort.

It was a short drive to the small mountain village of Femes. We parked on the side of the road leading up the mountain and then simply followed a rough track, which is used to get to the numerous antennae on top, and by paragliding enthusiasts, though we did not see any.

Accompanying us on this final climb up Atalaya De Femes was Keith’s dad, Len, the most long-serving of our fellow travellers as he was with us for the very first climb in the Malvern Hills on New Year’s Day.

The two-mile climb took around an hour and the volcanic ash we were walking on was constantly moving underfoot.

With our final peak now within sight, we made steady progress until we reached a long ridge below the summit and opening out in front of us with our first volcanic crater – quite a sight and hidden from all but us. We walked around the edge of the crater and onwards and upwards, now within minutes of accomplishing our 50 peaks mission. A second, even larger crater opened up on our right-hand side making quite an awe-inspiring sight.

We set our sights on the cluster of radio masts ahead and the final target in our year-long task. A small cluster of stones and, fittingly, the most magnificent panorama in our entire enterprise, stretched out in front of us, behind us and in every direction.

A truly stunning setting for finishing our challenge. We could see from one end of the 40-mile long island to the other, taking in mountain ranges in almost every direction as well as beautiful coastal resorts and the forbidding sea of black lava and red volcanoes that is the famous Timanfaya National Park, created from a six-year long series of volcanic eruptions just 300 years ago, which have literally blacked and recreated an entire section of the island.

They are the most stunning views available on the whole island and not even a mention in the guidebooks – great, we will keep it our little secret for the next time we visit. We had done it, with the help and support of a whole load of family and friends, both in person, in spirit and in financial backing for our worthy cause.

The relief was tremendous and I knew I would end up crying. Nicky is made of sterner stuff, of course, and just cracked open the bottle of Champagne we had taken to the top with us and we celebrated in appropriate style with our trusty blackboard, chalk, a couple of glasses and handy cameraman Len in tow.

An enormous thank you to everyone who has joined us in our challenge and supported it financially. And to everyone who would still like to donate, or who promised to cough up once we had achieved our goal – the time has now come.

You can donate online at www.bmycharity.com/50peaks or send direct to Sylvia Hemmings at Mercy Flyers (2 Springfield Close, Long Stratton, Norfolk NR15 2WQ) with a note that your gift is to be allocated against our challenge. You can follow every step of our adventure at http://50peaks.wordpress.com/

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