New heights for Driffield man

Mark Savile
Mark Savile
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A farmer’s son from Kilham is taking his passion for climbing to its greatest heights.

Mark Savile, 30, of Raven Hill Farm near Kilham, is heading for Argentina to climb the highest mountain outside Asia.

Monte Aconcagua

Monte Aconcagua

He will leave the Yorkshire Wolds behind some time before Christmas to travel almost 7,000 miles to Mendoza, the starting point of a 19 day trek to the summit of Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,960.8m (22,837.3 ft).

Part of the Andes mountain range, at that height air pressure is 40 per cent that at sea leve meaning 40 per cent less oxygen.

No stranger to mountaineering, he has climbed almost every peak in the UK and some abroad including Mont Blanc and one of the three peaks of Africa’s highest mountain, Killimanjaro.

“It is going to be a huge challenge,” said Mark, who spends much of his time in London as a freelance business analyst and management consultant in the maltings industry. “The key is to ascend slowly doing no more than 500m a day, while the body burns around 6,000 calories. Its going to be a tough climb.”

Training is vital to reach a good level of fitness in order to increase his chances of getting to the top.

Although he will not hit the slopes of Aconcagua until December 29 he will tackle a lesser peak of around 4,500m for training and acclimatisation.

In recent weeks he has been training at home taking long walks carrying a back-pack loaded with 30 kilos of weights.

“I suppose a few people might have seen me walking around the hills and countryside around Kilham with the heavy back-pack and wearing a head torch and wondered what I was doing,” said Mark, who expects to be carrying at least 20 kilos up Aconcagua where temperatures can swing wildly from around 30 degrees centigrade during the day to minus 30 at night. His epic trip will be with others and led by experienced guides but he said it was still a bit daunting.

Apart from his own ambition he has another good reason to push himself to the limit. He wants to raise funds and awareness for meningitis. When he was 11 years old he caught the sometimes fatal illness, going from being perfectly health to being in a semi-conscious state in just two days and spent five days in hospital before making a recovery.

“This is why I want to raise sponsorship money for the Meningitis Research Foundation to enable them to help others affected overcome Meningitis,” said Mark, who has a Just Giving website where people can make donations.

All money received will go to the Foundation as he is funding his trip himself. His fascination for walking and climbing began when he went with his father, Steve, on regular walks and climbs as a youngster.

The former Kilham Primary and Driffield School student went on to Leeds Universtiy where he also took up rock climbing. When he returns home around January 19 no doubt he will be heading for his local pub The Old Star on Church Street, Kilham, for a celebration drink and some proper pub grub. Mark is part of a syndicate in the village which two years ago bought the pub and improved it to make is part of the local community.

He occasionally organises pub quizzes acting as quiz master. What’s the betting that Aconcagua soon comes up as an answer!

To sponsor Mark visit his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/MarkWSavile.