For someone with a fear of heights, hiking up the Ochil Hills would be viewed as a great achievement. But Arlene Smillie, Physiotherapy Co-ordinator for Women and Children’s services, overcame her phobia to take on a mega-challenge in aid of Strathcarron Hospice by trekking up Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
Arlene’s sister is a nurse at the hospice and Arlene is very aware of their fundraising campaigns. So when she saw a seven day trek advertised on Facebook she went to see the fundraiser and got signed up. Her pledge was to raise £1,500 for Strathcarron – her total so far now stands at more than £3,200.
Arlene’s first foray into hill walking was a trip to Dumyat, where two NHS colleagues held her hands as she made her way up the hill. Since then she has undertaken spin classes, yoga, and strengthening classes to build up her stamina. She also started trekking with the three men and eight women who formed the group going to Morocco.
The culmination of their seven day adventure was waking up early to start an eight hour trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal to watch the sunrise. Arlene, who is asthmatic, almost reached the top of the 13,671 ft peak but suffered breathlessness and had to cross the mountain 2,000 ft below.
To get into the swing of things she dyed her hair pink, and department staff held a ‘dressed- in- pink day’ to support her fundraising efforts. Before leaving Arlene did confess to feeling nervous but described the journey as amazing, inspiring and scary at times. She is now looking around for her next big challenge!
To find out more or donate visit Arlene’s Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Arlene-ROSS3