And so it begins...
We have the first boots on the ground here in Kathmandu, as the film crew begin to arrive in Nepal in preparation for our March to the Top expedition. The view on my flight into Nepal's capitol was stunning with the mountains exposing their snowy tops through the clouds. It's a Himalayan welcome that never fails to impress me - like seeing a dear old friend that you've missed. It sends a pulse through my veins and aspirations for adventure through my mind.
The soldiers are in for an absolute visual treat as they fly in this week - the vastness of the vista acting as a siren's call to come and explore. Their adrenaline is bound to start pumping as they realise that in just three weeks they will be proudly flying the flag for the True Patriot Love foundation and all of Canada up amongst these giants.
I, for one, am fired up and ready to go. I've spent the past few weeks on a pre-trek training diet that finds its origins in my native Manchester. I've loaded up on a diet of fish, chips and peas, telling myself that a few extra pounds won't matter considering where we're going. Climbing in the Himalaya forces you to lose weight; that's why it's known as the Sherpa diet. I know that the soldiers have been training hard over the summer, some even running marathons. I can't attest to their diet, but I suspect that they will soon whip this 'civvie' into shape!
As I flew in, I could see that the entire country was interlaced with a web of swollen, latte-coloured rivers. These are 'post' monsoon rivers! Yep, the monsoon is officially over, which is great news for our expedition. The Kathmandu valley is a carpet of pleated, green rice fields after the rains, always a joy to my eye.
On arrival at the airport, our soldiers will no doubt have a good chuckle reading some of the welcome billboards which announce Nepal as having the highest mountain and the shortest man in the world, and that car horns are a great way for the Nepalese to express themselves creatively!
In an upcoming blog, I will introduce you to our fantastic climbing guides and mountain cameramen, but for now, let me introduce you to our fabulous principle film crew for March to the Top.
From left to right. Expedition Leader, producer and director, and all round Himalayan rock star, Mr Ben Webster. Director of photography and editor extraordinaire, the' guy with the magic eye', Mr Richard Vandentillaart. Second expedition cameraman, Mr Montreal himself, Adam Biehler. Production assistant and expedition go to guy, Mr Ben 'Minky' Shillington.
Things are revving up and will be short, sharp and speedy from now on, so don't blink or you'll miss the action. It's go, go, go Show Time!
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