Report on Mount Sinai (7498ft)
Jacqui, her brother-in-law Calum and I decided to make the trip to climb Mount Sinai in the middle of the night in time to watch the sunrise whilst we were on holiday to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Calum was really keen as his colleagues had sponsored him for our charity Asthma UK. Jacqui and I had difficulty fitting in this trip around all our diving commitments but were happy that a day was found that suited us all.
Whenever one of our party wanted to stop for a breather they shouted Hot Spot and we all stopped. Our guide told us there were 5 cafeterias to the summit which sounds very different from hillwalking in Scotland. When we reached the first we wouldn't exactly describe it as a cafeteria more like a Bedouin bothy with a man making tea, hot chocolate and coffee and selling chocolate bars which looked years out of date! There were stone seats around the walls covered in rugs.
At this point Calum took the chance of a camel ride and off he went into the darkness never to be seen again until we reached cafeteria No 4. Looking back down the mountain there was a stream of torch lights which looked like glow worms in the distance. Our party was now down to 8 with 4 taking camels which was an adventure in itself. Calum was growing quite close to his camel called ADOC which sounded quite appropriate as he was concerned for his health as he was not fit! Calum said the ride was so uncomfortable until they realised that the saddle was the wrong way round!
We met up with Calum at bothy No.4 where we saw some strange sights........ a Korean woman wearing a surgical mask expecting bird flu and a Russian woman who got off a camel wearing long leopard skin boots with high heels and a designer white leather jacket! So after another well earned rest we started to climb up the steps. Calum turned back with a few others but Jacqui and I had no intention of giving up. At the last bothy we were given minging blankets to wrap round us which smelled of camels and large mats to carry up to the summit.
Daylight was beginning to break and we headed upwards struggling to carry everything. On the summit there was a small church and hundreds of people vying for a spot to get settled awaiting the sunrise. There was ice and a little snow on top and after a half hour wait Jacqui and I were freezing and looked like a pair of hobos wrapped up in our camel blankets. At exactly 6.30am the sun began to peek through and within 4 minutes the sun had risen. All that for 4 minutes!!!! The views around us were stunning especially as we hadn't seen them on the way up. This was the mountain that Moses received the Ten Commandments so it is special to many folk. There were even priests in long black cassocks who seemed a bit more hardy than us!
Calum went with the others on a trip round the monastery while Jacqui and I waited at a cafe as we had visited it 2 days before and couldn't face it again. At this point Jacqui wasn't very good company as she would fall asleep mid sentence! Eventually after a wee sleep on the bus we got back to our hotel at 1.30pm and were raring to tell the others we left behind all about our adventure. This certainly was not like a usual Craggy trip!
Photos: Jacqui Muir and Irene Cahill
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