Charity fundraiser Campbell McCaig has arrived back home after trekking all the way to Everest Base Camp to raise over £23,000 for Yorkhill Childrens’ Hospital in Glasgow.
The banking executive from Port William was floored by a virus on his return and spent four days in bed, but had recovered sufficiently to call into The Galloway Gazette offices to talk about his life-changing trip.
Having spent a couple of day sightseeing in the capital Katmandu, visiting the market the monkey temple and soaking up the unique culture as well as getting caught in a spectacular thunderstorm, the group took a flight to the “airport at the roof of the world” Lukla, where the trek to Everest Base camp began.
Campbell said “From Lukla we started making our way up, walking for between three to five hours daily. The trip was very well organised and the group I was with were all well prepared for the trek. The only thing I noticed at high altitude was having a sore head from time to time and feeling a bit breathless at night but you just cope with it and don’t panic about it. To base camp and back was a nine-hour day and when we got there it was really quite emotional for me. The terrain was different there and on a rocky patch before we got to the glacier a big rock suddenly came crashing down about ten yards in front of us. That was luck as if it had hit you it would have killed you! The Sherpas got us moving faster after that and off that path as quickly as possible.
“From day five you see Everest, which is on the Tibetan side but there are a lot of prominent mountains all around you. The good thing for us was the weather was good. One morning we had breakfast in the sun and two hours later we were in the snow and we were in snow for three days after that.
“The tea houses that we ate in were better than I expected. Everyone ate together and most days breakfast was porridge or eggs or pancakes. Lunch was pasta or a rice dish. Evening meal was curry or vegetable pasta or pizza. The food was excellent.
“I was amazed at the Sherpas and what they can carry up the mountain - one was carrying up a fridge freezer! Some of these guys can carry 130 kilos. But that’s their job and a part of their everyday life.
“When I came home there were banners and balloons outside the house and everyone I bump into wants to hear about it and people are still handing me donations.
“I will now chill for a wee while and they start training for the charity cycle run for Yorkhill next month.
“But that was my big thing to say thank to Yorkhill for my daughter Katie’s treatment and to give something back and we had an amazing couple of hours in at Yorkhill after I few into Glasgow.
“Being somewhere like Nepal that makes you appreciate what you’ve got at home and what we take for granted here. To see other people’s take on what normal is. What we regard as normal is luxury to them. It’s like night and day really.”