Belfast Telegraph

Antrim man reaches Everest Base Camp

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

After trekking for more than eight hours a day for the past nine days, Antrim man David Burke (64) is finally due to reach Everest Base Camp.

The retired RAF man is part of a small team assisting wounded service personnel climb the world’s highest mountain while at the same time fulfiling one of his own lifetime ambitions.

“The expedition has been absolutely amazing,” he told the Belfast Telegraph from Nepal. “The scenery has just been breath-taking. From 6am it’s beautiful sunshine and I will never forget the sharp contrast of the mountains.”

Mr Burke, a father-of-two, staved off competition from more than 400 others to take part in the 22-day trek aimed at raising money and awareness for the charity which helps injured military personnel re-adjust to life on ‘civvy street’.

“We have been through so many small villages and I have met some incredible people along the way.

“The biggest challenge was certainly acclimatising to the altitude. However, we had a few rest days along the way which has really helped.”

Mr Burke, who served in the Air Force for 33 years, is among the oldest on the expedition team.

Earlier this week it was announced that the wounded servicemen’s summit climb has had to be postponed because unseasonably dry warm weather has caused large pieces of ice to fall.

However, the group will now console themselves by setting a new world record for the highest-ever whiskey tasting event.

“The postponed summit is a real shame and I know the servicemen are all incredibly disappointed,” added Mr Burke. “However, unlike myself these men are still young and the mountain isn’t going anywhere, so who knows where they will be this time next year.

“The past week has been fantastic but terribly exhausting. This has already been such a life-changing experience. Not many people aged 64 will be able to say that they trekked all the way to Everest Base Camp to take part in the world's highest whiskey tasting.”

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