A Castletown man has completed a gruelling bid to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and raise money for Help for Heroes, with support from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Father-of-three Lee Notman travelled to Tanzania earlier this month to take on the Machame Route towards the 19,341-foot summit. The Steam Packet Company supported his efforts by covering the cost of travel to and from the Isle of Man.
The 34-year-old joined a team of fellow climbers at the foot of the mountain and spent five days slowly climbing and acclimatising before making an attempt on the summit.
Lee explained: ‘It was by far the toughest thing I have ever attempted and this was the general opinion of all of my teammates. We set off for the final ascent at midnight but with the combination of little sleep and very little oxygen, within a few hours of trekking in the pitch black the temptation to just sit and shut your eyes is huge. However, the constant reminders from the local guides that to do so could easily prove fatal kept us going and we trundled on to the top, successfully reaching the summit at around 5.30am, just in time to watch the sun rise.
‘Sadly we didn't get to spend too long at the top as the wind chill brought temperatures down to a painful -20°c. Our water supplies had been frozen for hours and water from the small bottle that I had wrapped inside several layers of my clothes froze instantly on contact with my trousers when I accidentally spilt a few drops. We soon turned around and began the five-hour trek back to camp.’
Lee took on the climb to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charity which helps provide essential facilities for British service personnel injured in the line of duty. He has already raised £2,500 and hopes to see the amount grow.
He added: ‘I’d like to thank the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for its support, and everyone who has made a contribution so far. Anyone else who would like to make a donation to this important charity can do so at www.justgiving.com/leenotman.’
This was Lee’s second challenge in aid of Help for Heroes; in 2014 he completed the Moroccan Three Peaks Challenge and raised more than £3,000.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘I’d like to offer Lee my congratulations on successfully reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, it sounds like it was a real challenge and something he should be very proud to have achieved.
‘He should also be very proud to have raised a total of more than £5,500 for such an important cause, as Help for Heroes does tremendous work and relies very heavily on fundraising and donations to support injured service personnel.’
Photograph: Lee Notman (right) proudly displays the Manx flag at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with fellow climber Major Alex Reid, whose wife is from the Isle of Man