A group of 20 Scottish adventurers have left Edinburgh for Tanzania to undertake what they hope will be the highest tribute to the the poet Robert Burns on top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
At the end of the their eight-day climb to the summit of Africa’s highest peak, they will enjoy haggis, neeps and tatties — all cooked by Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie using a camping stove. It is believed that the climb — undertaken by Witchery restaurateur James Thomson, Anabel Meikle, manager of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and Annette Lamb, marketing manager of Harvey Nichols — will make it into the record books for a group supper.
Other Edinburgh participants include Susan Mathieson, managing director of Events Consultants Scotland, Tamara Kobiolke, a senior manager at the Missoni Hotel, and Jane Thomson, director of Fringe By Sea. In addition to the traditional supper, which will take place after they reach the summit on 15 January, fellow climber and piper Billy Bell will pipe in the haggis. The dinner will then proceed with the traditional Address To a Haggis, The Immortal Memory and a Toast to Lassies. There will also be a whisky tasting to warm up the group, as temperatures are expected to dip as low as -20C.
The group is undertaking the challenge to raise funds for the Hospitality Industry Trust, which helps talented individuals in the business further their careers. James Thomson, who owns the Witchery, the Tower and Prestonfield Hotel said he was doing the challenge to raise money and improve his fitness.
“We’ve been doing Munros such as Ben Nevis and regularly climbing Arthur’s Seat to keep our legs going,” he told the Scotsman. “I went away to Thailand in November to do a kickboxing course and have a bit of a detox and I’ve not touched alcohol since then as part of my training. We’ve all been working together and I’ve got to know people very well. It’s quite a challenge but we’ve been helping each other.”