The South Norfolk couple both turned 50 at the beginning of the year and pledged to attempt the challenge to mark the occasion and raise money for the Mercy Flyers charity.
As peak walking novices, the duo have successfully conquered 50 peaks including the highest mountain in England – Scafell Pike
- and the biggest in Wales – Snowdon
- as well as scores of other peaks in the Lake District, Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the Malvern Hills, the Shropshire Hills
and the Cotswolds.
The final peak was Atalaya De Femes
, an extinct volcano on the Spanish
island of Lanzarote
in the Canaries
, a moment which they celebrated in style by popping open a well-deserved bottle of Champagne.
“We have walked over 120 miles and climbed more than 95,000ft, which is over three times the height of Mount Everest
,” said Keith, who also works as corporate communications manager for Norwich-based media company Archant.
“We wanted to mark the birthday milestone in an unusual but worthwhile way and this turned out to be an amazing and memorable year.
“We climbed through mist, clouds, rain, hail, snow and swarms of insects. But we also had loads of great weather and exceptional company on lots of our climbs with many family and friends joining in.
“Some of the less memorable moments included getting lost on one of our very first climbs in the Yorkshire Dales, myself suffering a bout of vertigo on a Welsh mountain and refusing to climb any higher and Nicky falling headfirst into a steam on our penultimate climb, again in the Dales.
“But the highs have been far higher, literally, than the lows and my mind is now turning to what to do to mark our sixtieth birthdays in a decade’s time and I am open to suggestions.”
Nicky said: “Keith came up with this crazy idea and in a weak moment I agreed to go along with it. But seriously, the work that Mercy Flyers do is really great and has focused my mind in the more difficult moments. I sure am glad it is over though and woe betide Keith if he comes up with any other hare-brained schemes.”
The duo began the challenge on New Year’s Day itself by climbing three of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire and Keith has been writing a column about their adventures for Archant’s Let’s Talk magazine as well as a blog at http://50peaks.wordpress.com/
The pair have so far raised £6,800 to pay for 50 life-changing operations carried out by the Mercy Flyers team, led by former Norfolk doctors Craig
and Rae Oranmore-Brown,
whom Keith and Nicky met through the Norwich Vineyard
church. They hope to reach £10,000 when final donations are in, as Archant should match fund up to £3,000 to add to the total.
Craig is a pilot and anaesthetist, Rae is a consultant surgeon and three years ago they gave up hospital consultant jobs in Norfolk to launch a flying doctors service in Zambia
in southern Africa.
The Mercy Flyers team perform or enable life-transforming operations such eye surgery, life-saving surgery on children and fistulae operations (for incontinence after childbirth) and the like which, without their efforts, simply would not be available to most people in the vast rural areas of Zambia. They need funds to pay for the plane and fuel, surgeries, operations and equipment.
To sponsor the couple visit http://www.bmycharity.com/50peaks
Find out more about Mercy Flyers at www.mercyflyers.org
You can follow Keith’s blog at http://50peaks.wordpress.com/
Pictured top are Keith and Nicky Morris at Atalaya De Femes, the final peak, middle at the summit of the Worcestershire Beacon in the Malvern Hills, the first peak they climbed and above, Craig and Rae Oranmore-Brown, with their plane in Zambia.