Adventurer travels 4,500 miles and climbs more than 19,000 feet to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro
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In June this year, Paul Inskipp, 60, travelled 4569 miles from Wearside to Tanzania and reached the summit of Uhuru Peak, on Mount Kilimanjaro after climbing 19,341 feet, in one week.
Paul, who was born in South Shields but moved to Sunderland at the age of two, was inspired to climb the highest free-standing mountain in the world after flying out of Kilimanjaro airport in 2013 and seeing the breathtaking scene from above.
The adventure saw Paul, a semi-retired mechanical design engineer, walked through 42 miles of jungle and lava fields, battle altitude sickness, deal with the blazing hot African sun and camp in freezing cold night temperatures, but it was all worth it for the feeling of reaching the top.
He said: “It was an amazing experience and definitely a challenging one but I absolutely loved it and it was all worth it. Reaching the top was brilliant. You can’t beat the feeling of euphoria when you work hard and accomplish something.
"It was pure elation. It was a stunning view from the peak and it made it all worthwhile. Luckily when I reached the top there wasn’t many people there but you only get about five minutes because if you hang about too long the altitude sickness will get you”
“Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1889, but I don't think the sight of a Sunderland Shirt has graced the peak many times in the 132 years since
“My family thought I was crazy at first. I’m a big walker and this was a lot more than my usual walk so my mother was a bit worried about me, especially at my age.
"It was definitely challenging, it was so hot during the day then as soon as night came it would be freezing cold, I’m not much of a camper so the nights were long, but it was all worth it in the end.”
Growing up, Paul was born in South Shields before moving to Sunderland and living in Pennywell and Pallion, before moving to Chapelgarth near Doxford park, where he lives now.
A former shipyard worker, Paul was never a fan of holidays or travelling, hating the idea of going to an airport, until he was asked by his sister to walk the Great Wall of China for her 50th birthday, giving him an itch for travelling on adventure holidays.
Since then, Paul has travelled all over the world, covering most of Africa, parts of South America and Asia and has even swam with killer whales in Norway.
He added: “I used to hate holidays and going away and much preferred staying at home until my sister suggested walking along the Great Wall of China for her 50th. I love walking so I said yes and ever since then I’ve never stopped travelling. I absolutely love it.”