Cork-screw curly-haired presenter, stylist and BBC Radio 1Xtra radio broadcaster Gemma Cairney recently embarked on an epic hike across Kenya, for cancer charity Trekstock.
Bravely challenging herself to climb Mount Kenya to help raise funds and support lifesaving cancer research, 24-year-old Gemma took to the hills. Spending one week at eye level with lizards and apes in the undergrowth, she documented her adventures, returning to tell i-D online all the nitty gritty details of her time spent trekkin the great outdoors.
“When I was challenged by Trekstock to educate my lazy brain and limbs to climb Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa for a brilliant cause, I decided enough snoozing had been done and to do it. Trekstock is a charity that raises money to fund the research of cancer that affects young people. After one meeting with the charity’s founder Sophie, we were cajoling everyone we knew to do it too and decided to put on a gig in the sky! The organisation, the training and fundraising was enough to quicken the pace. It was freezing, it was hard, I cried my eyes out – imagine all the cliche’s that could follow including ‘it changed my life’. But most importantly we raised thousands for Trekstock. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures of the trek.”
When you are plucked from the visual hustle bustle of multi-coloured rainbow London and dropped in the great outdoors, something like clapping eyes on my friend Amy’s pom-pommed hat means genuine joy!
Peter our foodie wizard was often found making a dinner full of essential carbs with nothing but a head torch to guide him. At night our vice was cuddling, in below freezing temperatures and endless flasks of hot water, bedtime was around nine o’clock most nights.
With Bri Bri on my left and Cynthia on my right, two ladies I’ve spent a lot of time with in my life, but never did we imagine we’d be trapped in a mountain vortex for days on end. We leant on each other a lot. A rare moment of relaxation included camping chairs, tapestry, dancing to Rihanna and Amy’s amazing straw hat.
At this point we were above the clouds for the first time. You could often hear sharp intakes of breath at how beautiful moments were. I was blown away daily by Josie, the smile didn’t budge.
The toilet, nuff said. Our beautiful warblers Brigitte Aprodite and Rox made everyone cry when we they did a gig in the sky.
Left: The look of the trek. Right: The first time we’d been in a moving vehicle for days and days but Mother Nature wasn’t having it.