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Brian fulfils lifelong ambition

At the summit of Kilimanjaro are, from left - Paul Garden, Emesa Santha and Brian Cowie, who scaled the mountain to mark Brians 50th birthday.

At the summit of Kilimanjaro are, from left - Paul Garden, Emesa Santha and Brian Cowie, who scaled the mountain to mark Brians 50th birthday.

An Arbroath man marked a very special birthday by climbing to the top of one of the world’s highest peaks last week.

Brian Cowie, along with friend Paul Garden and his partner Emesa Santha, scaled all 5,895 metres of Kilimanjaro to celebrate Brian’s 50th birthday.

Brian is no stranger to hillwalking after bagging all the Munros 21 years ago and also enjoying walking trips in the Swiss Alps, French Alps and Morocco.

And in the last few months, Brian and Paul decided to plan the ultimate trip to Tanzania to walk to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain.

It took six days to make the ascent to the top and Brian is pleased to have achieved a life-long ambition.

He said: “It is just something I have always wanted to do.

“I have been pals with Paul since we were young and we have always done hillwalking together.

“For the first five days you could feel yourself getting higher and higher.

Then on the sixth day we started at midnight so we could reach the top before seeing the sunrise across Africa.

The conditions were tough and there was a lot of snow for the last 1,000 metres.

“But it’s something I always wanted to accomplish.”

The group prepared for the trip with several days in the Cairngorms as training.

But Brian added: “Hillwalking in Scotland was good preparation but as long as you’re fit enough you will make it to the top.”

Not only is Kilimanjaro the highest peak in Africa, it is also the highest free standing mountain in the world.

It has various different landscapes including rainforest, cultivated land, alpine desert and an arctic summit.

It is thought around 25,000 people attempt the climb to the top every year, with two thirds successful in reaching the summit.

 

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