Winged adventure is a soaring success
Hedland man Adrian McRae has realised a long-overdue dream, leading a group of adventurers over the edge of Africa’s Mt Kilimanjaro.
Mr McRae and most of his Wings of Kilimanjaro group launched from the summit of the mountain, about 5900m high, late last month, paragliding to the bottom in an unforgettable experience.
The mission was all in the name of charity, and follows a long journey for the Pilbara construction boss, who initially led a group of close to 200 people up the mountain in 2013.
During the inaugural event, timing and weather hindered the trip, and all participants descended the mountain on foot.
However, this time around, after two trials with a small team, Mr McRae was convinced everything would come together.
“Fourteen people flew from Mt Kilimanjaro,” he said. “But eight people did not fly.” It was a bittersweet moment for Mr McRae, as a handful of participants missed their window of opportunity to fly, including two of his Pilbara companions.
“I was disappointed for them,” he said. “For me, I don’t get pleasure out of doing something unless everyone gets the same joy.”
Hedland couple Damien Stewart and Raechel Morris raised thousands of dollars for their trip but, together with their tandem pilots, they missed out on flying off the mountain.
Dampier woman Alison Armstrong was among those who did fly off the mountain, and Mr McRae said for many it was an emotional journey.
More than $125,000 was raised for charity as part of the event, with participants visiting a Maasai village at the end of the trip to see villagers getting access to clean tap water for the first time.
Mr McRae said while in hindsight there was regret and sadness in wishing that all of the trekkers could have been able to paraglide off Mt Kilimanjaro, he said it was all brought into perspective by having brought clean water to people who previously did not have ready access to it.
Wings of Kilimanjaro adventurers raised money to provide clean drinking water to Maasai communities.