back room of Winchcombe Post Office - at Christmas time it's certainly
a busy place to be. With this in mind, you'd think that when Postman
Chris Kerrigan got some time off he'd want to sit back and relax.
intrepid postie has just returned from a trip climbing Mount Everest.
Chris talks about his adventure:
tests out his gear
great and very tough. Awesome in every respect. Wonderful people.
Beautiful country. It was very, very tough going. You had to hang
in there, hour after hour. There's no such thing as a leisurely
coffee break or a nice lunch break, or have a little siesta in the
afternoon - they were very full days."
Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world, is quite a challenge.
Was there any point when Chris thought that it was too much, that
he couldn't do it? He says:
can honestly say there wasn't. It was a long haul and you knew you
had perhaps two or three more hours to go to the end of the day
but never once did I think of jacking it in. Mainly because many
people in Winchcombe have backed me. Besides which I had nowhere
else to go, I had to go onto the next camp site."
what was a day on Mount Everest actually like? Chris explains:
got up about 6am, just before daybreak. Daybreak would come about
6.15 but you wouldn't see the sun for a little while after that.
We'd be given a very good breakfast by the team of sherpas and kitchen
leaving camp at about 8 o'clock in the morning. We would plod on
until about one o'clock lunch. It was a good lunch but I made the
mistake of having too much one or two days and I didn't really want
to get going again.
you set off again soon after lunch until five o'clock in the evening,
and sometimes even into darkness as well. There you found your tent,
or it found you, and then you could look forward to an evening meal
in a lodge. They all had a nice stove in there and it was a bit
hard to leave there, go outside and return to your tent when temperatures
were anything between -10 and -20. It was great fun because we were
all in the same boat."
about the other people? Did you all get on well? Chris says:
There was a lot of gelling amongst the 42 strong group [of] men
and women. Inhibitions to one side, we were all the great unwashed
for about a fortnight. I started changing my socks every day but
that fell by the wayside. You just pulled your boots off at night
and crawled into your sleeping bag when it was time to get to sleep."
back on the adventure, what was the real highlight for Chris? He
in particular was to meet a man who summited Everest fourteen times.
He was so humble. He should have been wearing a crown in my book.
Rubbing shoulders with the mountain guides, the sherpas and the
kitchen boys - that was all a highlight as well as seeing Everest
tell us about the honorary title you received during the trek? Chris
laughs as he remembers:
very kindly made me a honorary sherpa and crowned me with scarves
and all sorts of things. They've achieved a lot in life - far more
than I have - and to be presented with clothing from Tibet from
one of them who was associated with Chris Bonnington (right) on
one occasion, to be rubbing shoulders and talking everyday to them
was really great."
did they do that for you? Chris shrugs as he says:
really don't know why I was chosen. I suppose we just got on very
also revealed that he intends to stay in e-mail contact with the
friends he's made in the region. It's strange to imagine that it's
possible to keep in touch using computers in such a remote region.
have homes in and around Kathmandu, and in the mountain. They have
little businesses, guesthouses and lodgings, and there they have
all the equipment. It surprised me to find that, as it surprised
me on occasions that you'd suddenly come across a lodge that had
a satellite telephone. It was great fun on occasions to telephone
the [Winchcombe] Post Office and say hello!"
after an incredible experience like trekking in the shadow of Everest,
what's it been like since Chris returned to Winchcombe? He explains:
have been great, asking how I got on. But, sadly, it's like any
good experience that's suddenly gone - here I am, halfway through
a [normal] week and I can't believe what I was doing the other week.
I've got the picture memories anyway."
money for good causes
Everest Expedition Trek was organised to raise more than £150,000
for Scope - a charity which helps those who suffer from cerebral
palsy, their families and carers.
aimed to raise around £3,500 towards that total and it's looking
good. Although he has yet to total up all his sponsorship money,
the support he's received has been tremendous. He says:
have been incredibly generous in their support of me but what has
really stuck me is the number of people who I don't even know who
have responded to the appeal. I'm very, very grateful to them."
Everest under his belt, does Chris have plans for any more epic
treks around far flung places in the world? He says:
must look at another plan sometime next year. Not sure where yet,
but somewhere interesting!"
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