In my head – How Team Ubuntu formed


It was exciting to arrive to Manchester with only photos of people and their voices to look for at the airport arrivals hall. I got a message from our UK team that they are still 25 minutes away with the minibus and if I could look for the Spain, Austria and Switzerland team mates as they should land soon also.

I got myself something to eat, a latte and sat waiting at a cafe for the others to arrive. I spotted the Spain members first, then, Austria and a bit later Switzerland member arrived. The UK team minibus driver got lost as there is so much construction going on close to the airport, but eventually we found each other and the whole Team Ubuntu was united for the first time.

I felt really tired, the flu was still in the background so slept most of the bus ride to Keswick. It though helped enough so that I could join the others for dinner after we had checked into the hotel.

Time difference was affecting me a bit as it was 2 hours more already in Finland so dinner started ”my time” at 11 pm. I very much wanted to get to know my Team Ubuntu colleagues and was glad that I was able to stay awake until the end of the dinner.

During dinner we all introduced each other in round table style and learned to share how our day went. This debrief became very important to all of us and I began to look forward to these sessions and to hear how the day went for each and everyone. We are going to spend a week on a mountain in very difficult conditions so it helps to know each other and how we are doing.

I went to sleep that evening happy, intrigued on what was to come and interested to get to know everyone in the coming days. My mind was open and I got a similar vibe from everyone that we are here to create a team that can reach the top together.

Only worry was the lingering flu, but decided to take it one hour at a time and go as high as I can go the next day or go nowhere at all if I feel too bad.

First day

I woke up in the morning I would say full of enthusiasm, but not necessarily full of physical energy. That enthusiasm carried far and thanks to it I probably got through the day.

After breakfast our guides helped us with the back packs and we got info on what you should have with you and how to pack everything.

Kirstin from our team surprised me with a request to interview just before we left with a minibus to the starting point of the first hike. You can see it from the smile on my face. It’s happening! Check twitter post.

At the starting point our first official Team Ubuntu photo was taken with the Autovista Kilimanjaro Challenge banner and Unicef UK shirts. (See feature image at the top)

Right after we started climbing up everyone began to chat and there was a nice kind of atmosphere and feeling of unity. We are in this together and everyone was eager to get to know each other.

I had to concentrate on my own performance more than usual to make sure I don’t overdo it and kept monitoring my HR and general feeling. My heart was touched how every now and then someone asked me how are you doing realizing that I am struggling a bit. Conversations were formed with most of the team already on the first day.

Team Ubuntu at the top the first climb

When we got down and the climb of the day was over there was a sense of relief. Many were positively surprised they could do it, me included. I felt strangely OK considering how I had felt the day before.

The debrief in the evening before dinner helped to understand how the day had been for all and we learned to check our oxygen saturation and evaluate other symptoms that might indicate that it’s time to head downhill. Feeling was accomplished, tired but happy. After dinner we pretty much headed straight to bed since we had another similar climb the day after (14 kilometers with over 900 meters of ascent).

Second day

I slept like a log and woke up in coma-like state. My younger son called me in the morning and since it was 2 hours ahead I was wondering why he is not in school until I was kindly informed it is Saturday.

I don’t think I was fully awake until we started walking after breakfast, but luckily the start of the walk was pretty flat and there was again chance to talk to people and before I knew it my body was awake again.

When we got to the beginning of the ascent it was clear that we would not be able to chat that much. The incline was pretty steep and first symptoms of going up and down started to appear in the form of knee problems to some of the team members. We got some really good advice from our guides and I was happy follow each tip they gave on how to proceed and dress at each point on the way up.

We proceeded with steady and slow pace in a queue up the hill which was a really good tactic. There was some discussions, but the path was a bit too narrow to walk side by side and the slope so steep that everyone was concentrating more on individual performance than the day before.

Last bit to the peak was the steepest with lots of loose slate rocks and I could sense that it was an achievement to get to the top. It was very windy up there and we could hardly see anything. The clouds kept coming and going sweeping the peak. Then suddenly the clouds disappeared and amazing views appeared. You could see all the way to Scotland! This was definitely the high point so far. We did it again, together.

Team Ubuntu at the top second hike

Path down was more like a highway so wide and easy to walk so we got to talk to each other more. I learned so much of what everyone does at work, what hobbies they have, how their family is doing and where they live.

Knee/leg problems and tiredness were the general issues, but general feeling was good in debrief in the evening. Everyone felt like they had achieved something and we learned again more about altitude sickness and symptoms. We were emphasized that nobody knows how you feel unless you tell them. It is vital to be honest of what you feel no matter how strange as there might be a reason behind it.

At dinner I could clearly feel how something had shifted during the day. Everyone seemed more liberated, more familiar with each other and the amount of laughter! I have not laughed that much in a long, long time.

That evening Team Ubuntu was formed.

Third day

When the third morning began we were all feeling a bit sad already knowing that all this will come to an end soon.

Two previous days there was so much laughter and we could all feel and see the bonding happening. It was amazing to notice how especially on the second day when there was a bit more challenge it sort of jellied us together even more.

Back packs were carried for others, equipment borrowed to help out and a lot of ”Are you doing ok’s?” and ”How are you’s?” were exchanged.

This time we took a boat ride to the start of the hike on the other side of the lake. Route was only around 6,5 kilometers and ascent only around 332 meters as opposed to the days before it when it had been 14 km and over 900 meters.

This was the ”rest” day and everyone was more familiar with each other so talking was easy, but truth was we did not want to go home yet. Debrief confirmed this, many of us would have wanted to do a few more days. We had just began to know each other and it felt like we were ripped apart just when we got to know each other.

After the debrief the minibus took us back to Manchester. During and after dinner there was again so much laughter. We have a great team was on everybody’s mind.

Fourth day

This was the last day together. No climbing but a team bonding training and general knowledge of climb to Kilimanjaro. One of our colleagues who had already climbed Kili shared her story and something in that made think. She said that by the time they got close to the top nobody wanted to be the first after all so they all went together.

This is not a competition, this is not a game. This is team work and everyone has their part to play.

With this almost poetic ending I finish my post. I look forward to Kilimanjaro climb with these amazing people. I feel more secure and confident now and I will do my best to support Team Ubuntu so everyone can reach their best, what ever the altitude.

Go Team Ubuntu and may we be united again in Tanzania! Miss you all <3

Would you like to support our fundraising cause?

We also discussed why this challenge is so important to us during the three days and it’s not just the climb, it’s the helping others while doing it that matters. We all feel very passionate about the fundraising part and are determined to reach our goal and beyond and this way help as many as we can.

If you wish to sponsor Team Ubuntu you can do that by visiting the team JustGiving page. Every pound, euro, dollar will help us reach our goal of fundraising for @Unicef_UK.

Thank you for reading and sponsoring us.

More on individual hikes

Continue Reading

Training W40 – Highs and lows with a lot of hiking

This was the long awaited week when we went hiking to Lake District. Unfortunately I got the flu so was a bit unwell in the beginning of the week and not sure if I could even join the climbs.

Luckily the worst was over and I managed to get myself to Manchester and up all the three fells we had on agenda. Our pace was slow and steady so my HR did not get too high and kept monitoring it all the time with my sports watch. Normally it goes down to around 48 at some point during the day so as long as it would stay close to there was no need to worry.

I felt OK after the first day, I mean tired, but OK so the virus had already passed and I was on the mend. Taking it one day at a time and allowing yourself the option to quit at any point was a good tactic.

Hopefully this cough will pass soon so that I can go for a run because my motivation is really high now and I want to push myself harder. Every breath counts and I need be able to take as much oxygen out of each breath as I possibly can. I will probably do a bit different training plan for the coming months than I have so far. Not quite sure what yet, but I need to consult a few professionals on this (like my brother who is running a gym called SCROK in Kokkola, my hometown).

Luckily though my leg doesn’t hurt at all anymore and the ”hard lump” where the stump hit worst is almost gone too. Orienteering season is over anyway for me and let’s see next spring if I will give it a try again.


  • Running 13,8 kilometers
  • Hiking 24,55 kilometers
  • No other sports due to flu

Two of three Lake District hikes were on W 40 statistics and the last one will be on W 41.

Weekly training target

Would you like to support my cause?

Continue Reading

Finding high places – Lake district challenge, Cat Bells, England day 3

Cat Bells 452 meters

Third day our walk started from the jetty at Hawse End where you can get to by boat from the town. The boat runs regularly but not too often so you should check the timetable in advance.

It is also good idea to time your hike so that you will be back on time for the planned ferry as otherwise you may need to wait for a while for the one.

You could of course also walk from and back to town, but the boat ride is a nice event on its own.

The first part of the path takes you through a magical looking green forest with moss covered trees until the path starts to climb up after the car park.

First the path is clear and rock covered with fairly good incline right away. Path keeps going steadily up until about 330 meters where there is a bit more even section before the final climb.

Cat Bells consists of two little tips and again just when you think you are the top the actual peak appears.

Nope, we are not there yet

There is a steady smooth incline at the top all the way to the end where you will reach another section where hands are a better tool than poles and you get to use your climbing skills.

Rocky section to get to the top

There tends to be another way around these sections too so you could very well come here for a day walk with children and did see even smaller children on the fell. Or you could just come up the way we went down which was perfectly good for everyone even with minor knee injuries.

Picture towards the lake around 330 meters
Route down after the top

This was definitely the most busiest hike we did and there was a bit of a rush hour at the top and no wonder because the views to the lake were absolutely amazing. This route is completely on the opposite side of the Lake than the previous days walk was so different perspective to the town of Keswick.

Route down was easy and passed this old cave for mining and a waterfall after which it straight on the side of the fell until we reached the parking lot where we started climbing again.

Waterfall on the way down

I would recommend this definitely with kids and it is exciting for them with good views, but naturally it is good to be careful on those a bit steeper sections or use our route down to go up.

I would not recommend this with knee issues as some of the steeper sections had pretty weird positions you had to place your self to climb up using your hands, but if you are up for a challenge this might be your hike.

Then again taking our route down both up and down would be an easier option to see enjoy the views.


6,8 kilometers (about, forgot to turn my monitor back on coming down so missed a few hundred meters). Ascent 332 meters, descent 269 meters, highest point 452 meters

Continue Reading

Finding high places – Lake district challenge, Skiddaw, England day 2

After day 1 I was pretty knackered to start with, but a good night sleep helped a lot.

Still the morning started a bit disoriented because I could not find my iron pills and I was sure I packed them and then my son called me and I thought why is he calling this late should he not be at school until I was kindly informed by my #teamubuntu colleagues that today is Saturday 🙂

I woke up too early and fell asleep again so I tried to eat and pack as fast as I can and ended up being first ones ready outside to my surprise ready to roll again.

Our route today started from the hotel so walked through the town to the starting point (of the route map) from where I started tracking the hike. First few kilometers were around 100 meters above the sea level through farm lands among sheep. Until we reached the start of the ascent.

Ascent was pretty steep right from the start so the poles became a necessity. We paced our queue steady and easy which really helped to keep my heart rate down (use less energy = use less oxygen) and not get too excited again.

View to village below from ascent

The views were great already from there to the village at around 500 meters. Path was good gravel path a bit steep, narrow and rocky at times, but generally manageable especially with poles.

We stopped for lunch at around 726 meters at this saddle between the path up to Skiddaw and the path that would lead down through Long Side. Some great views to the Irish sea and Scotland from there!

Views towards Scotland and the Irish Sea

After lunch break we still had over 200 meters to go and here the path turned into a really steep slate covered path. The slates practically slid under you at times and we had to move really steady and almost synchronized up. I loved our team work here as we went along like little ants up with our poles in sync.

This leg was hard and even a bit scary at times as the possibility to simply slip was higher than previously. The slope was also a lot more steep ascent than before. We managed this really great and by the time we got up it was so windy we could hardy stand up.

Due to this particular section I would not recommend this route to anyone without poles and if you are scared of heights. You are pretty exposed here and the slope is steep and long.

When you finally get the to the top, the saying the kids often use on the longer car journeys would fit which is ”Are we there yet?”.

Nope we are not there yet! Still down a bit a another short hill and up and _then_ we are there.

Skiddaw 931 m

It was so windy at the top that I could hardly hold on to my camera so it would keep still and the mist/fog kept coming and going sweeping the top so quickly that we had hard time getting the cameras up and then there was another misty cloud again.

When it did clear up again the views were worth climbing to all directions.

Nice wide path down

Down hill it was again very easy and wide path with a few steeper sections, but nothing too bad. Again the poles were are a must to anyone with knee issues to help take the weight off them going down.

On the way down we had more time to talk and get to know each other which was really great as the way up everyone had concentrate so much more that we could not really chat that much.


Second ”lunch break” was held at around 550 meters with spectacular views and this cute dog who decided to rather stay with us than follow his master probably because we had food!

And last but not the least the best view from the toilet I have had for a while below!

Tomorrow a bit easier last day up to Cat Bells!

Best view from the loo so far


14,5 kilometers, ascent 855 meters, descent 829 meters with highest point at 931 meters.

Would you like to sponsor me?

That can be done via below link. Every euro counts and you can sponsor with your name or anonymous. All profits to Unicef UK. Thank you for your support in advance!

Continue Reading

Finding high places – Lake district challenge, Grag hill, England day 1

Highest peak 835 m

The morning was full of excitement as we all gathered for breakfast looking forward to the coming day. The weather forecast promised cloudy, part sunny and possibility of a bit of rain so that was a lot better than the day before when the possibility was I think 80% of rain.

Our guides Mike and Christine helped with the back packs as water bladders, clothing and yes the walking poles! No I finally know where they should go on the back pack. See tweet here

Start of the path

We started off around 100 meters going pretty steadily up and it started to clear up so we had to take off a layer of clothes fairly quickly after start and get our sunnies out for a while. Of course the higher we got, the fog rolled in again and we we changing clothes… Again…

This seemed to be at least for me the job of the day to keep changing layers either it was too windy on the other side of the ridge or then you got too hot climbing up. Self note for tomorrow take the other windproof jacket in addition to the waterproof.

I kept being mindful of my heart rate also all the time considering I had some sort of bug just the day before so stayed in the back more in the beginning just to see how my feeling evolves.

The paths were rugged but well worn. It was though a bit wet and rocky so you needed to be careful with your steps. The slope to the right was very steep down, but the path was wide and easy to walk. At the end there was a bit of ascent to our first lunch stop at the saddle before we went up to peak Sail on the right.

The ascent to Sail was rather steep and the path kept zigzagging which helped with the elevation gain and certainly easier than going straight up. But we did reach top of Sail with nice foggy view.

Image from top of the first peak Sail 773 meters
Grag hill 838 m ”pile of rocks”

Just around the corner continuing a bit further we reached today’s high point Grag hill 838 meters. It was so windy, cloudy and rainy there you could not get any scenery to the image so here a photo at the peak close to the pile of rocks.

From here our path continued down a bit and we got some really nice photos when the clouds cleared a bit from the valley. You could see all the way to the Irish sea and the wind mills there.

Nice spot fora break

We descended from there to around 600 meters and then back up to Grisdale Pike 791 meters. After that it cleared up almost completely and we were really lucky to see the fells surrounding the area.

Before starting our descent we had our second ”lunch” break with a pretty nice view opening up down to the valley.

Start of the descent was again windy, very steep and rugged but oh such a great view! The best of the day I think.

Start of the descent with an amazing view!

After that it was just downhill. Got some really good stretches of downhill training for myself. I still did not run, but tried to pick up the pace a bit to see how it goes. During the lunch break my heart rate went down very quickly so I was not really worried that the hike was too much after the bug or whatever virus I had.

Descent was with great scenery and nice pace. I really enjoyed the going down part as I usually do as that comes more naturally to me and I feel like I am good at it.

I would not recommend this route on very rainy or windy days as there are parts that are really slippery and rugged. With children this is too much up and down I think, but teenagers would then again love the views. Due to so many ups and downs and loose rocks I would not recommend the route to anyone with bad knees as the descent is fairly hard on your knees unless you are used to it.


14 kilometers, ascent 932 meters, descent 952 meters. Wohou my longest ascent I think!

Today was not about exercising as such, but doing it slowly and steady. I tracked time around 5:26 minutes and tried to stop the clock for the stops so the time was at least 40 minutes more actually.

It was great to be with guides who just told you where to turn, when to take poles out, when to put more clothes on and when to take some off. It was actually surprisingly relieving not to have to watch the map all the time and actually change to windproof _before_ ”the other side” where it hits and the you try to get everything when it’s so windy that everything is flying! So I willingly took their advice and just did what I was told and it seemed to work and too that one extra bit of your mind so you could just concentrate on your own progress and achievement.

All and all really and amazing day with an absolutely smashing team. We had so much fun at dinner. Eating what else than traditional fish and chips! Now to bed and we shall see how tomorrow goes! Weather forecast promises surprise, surprise rain again 🙂

Would you like to support #TeamUbuntu cause?

Please sponsor us via the below link. Thank you everyone for your support and for following me <3

Oh and congrats to our team mate Kristy for achieving her target of 2000 GBP! Wohou!

Continue Reading

Lake District 3 peak challenge here we come!

Almost there. Passport packed and at the airport. Jiggles in the tummy and of course sore throat which I hope will pass with a good nights sleep. I do have a bit more in the suitcase than these though 🙂

Last few weeks with this leg have not been that good. I clearly need my dose of exercise or otherwise the house of cards seems to start falling. I’m too used to doing the same routine that now when I was forced to stay still I get very frustrated.

But now I am at the airport, made it here and off to Manchester soon. Never been there so I am very excited and not only because I get to climb high up again, but because…

I get to meet my #TeamUbuntu colleagues!

Feelings are a bit mixed as I am going to spend three days hiking with ”strangers” and the original enthusiastic feeling kind of disappeared with the hurt leg, sore throat and the possibility of not being able to go at all crossed my mind. I am still not sure if I can go up the hill tomorrow it depends a lot on how today turns out.

I hope this sore throat won’t get worse and that all goes well. Weather forecast looks like it is going to rain (surprise, surprise) so we shall see. Rainproof gear is packed anyway so let it pour!

Here in Finland it is already as cold as it seems to be in Lake District but of course going upwards 1000 meters it will be colder and more exposed.

Just to add some color into this post here a few pics of Finnish Autumn in its beautiful color palette <3

Talk to you soon with a report from Keswick, United Kingdom!

Continue Reading

What challenge, why Kilimanjaro and why me?

In short this is my company’s challenge to raise money for Unicef UK through teams of employees climbing to Kilimanjaro. There are three different groups; one, two and three so far, and I am part of group three going up February 2020. Teams one and two have already been there which is great advice to others and story sharing!

Why Unicef

The reason why Autovista Group (where I work) chose Unicef is because we employees ourselves were asked of our opinion on what we would like to see the company support. We mentioned that supporting children, education and reducing the impact of climate change are important causes for us, hence Unicef was chosen because they work with all these causes.

Unicef has on their website this one simple sentence which summarizes their target and quite well what I want to achieve by raising money for them also.

”For every child the chance to grow up healthy, happy and safe”

I have four children myself and they are lucky to live in a house, go to school and get food every day. They don’t always remember to appreciate it and complain about food or homework. I try to remind them that not everyone has the chance to study and not everyone can sleep in a comfy bed with only big brother in the same room. Some children might have to sleep in a room with many more than just big bro, they may not have warm meal every day and they will not be able to go to school at all, but are forced to work every day.

My daughters on a hike at Sipoonkorpi National forest <3

I know they are children and it takes time to understand, appreciate and not take all of this for granted. We all complain sometimes although all is well, me being no exception. My children are though surprisingly aware of the climate issues and strong advocates for nature and preserving it, so very proud of them for this.

I want every child to have a happy, content and trusting smile when they go to bed at night knowing all is well and sleep without fear. I want every child to be able to give a hug to their parents and go to the park with their grandparents. They are the future, we must teach them well and give everyone an opportunity to thrive and flourish. That is why this cause is so important to me because without children we have no future.

I also love nature in all it’s fierceness and beauty, Australian outback and Finnish Lapland. I want to make sure we are not doing anything to make things worse, but rather hope that we have now finally taken the turn for better in the fight against the climate change. The choices we make now have longstanding impact so let’s hope we make the right ones! I also believe that everyone’s contribution counts, small streams make a big river and big rivers flow to the sea.

This challenge is my small bit to support these causes and you can help me achieve my goal by sponsoring me through my Just Giving page or clicking the ”Sponsor me” button below.

Both lead to the same page where you can sponsor me with any amount you choose. Every euro counts so thank you for your support <3 I also want to thank everyone who has already sponsored me at Autovista and my friends!

Why I chose to apply

Me hiking in Lapland, Finland

After being between pregnancies, nursing and school runs for many years it is finally a bit more quiet in the house. I can hear myself think better and realized I had a selfish thought of wanting to do something for me.

I want to challenge myself somehow and sports + nature have always been the way to reduce stress for me in addition to music. I love wandering in the nature, hiking and trail running. My runs though often are not very results-oriented as I stop admiring animals, plants and scenery taking pictures forgetting I was running to try and beat my last time.

So now as the little one is big enough (preschool) I thought why not? I actually already applied first time two years ago, but cancelled it realizing I cannot commit to fundraising or training yet, as the kids were still younger and there was a lot of changes happening in our lives.

Now when it was announced that applications for team three were open I thought now is my time. I will apply, maybe I could actually do this! Luckily I was chosen and here I am now writing this blog post and I’m so excited writing this. I am excited to be a part of this, I am excited at what our team can achieve and I am excited that I can do something good while doing all this.

Individual and team goal

We all have individual goals and we also have a team goal. My goal is to raise 2000 EUR and our team goal is to raise 21 000 £. There is 12 of us on this journey and intention is to get to the top together and of course raise at least the goal amount but hopefully even more!

Three Peak Challenge

Before we head out to Africa and mount Kilimanjaro we will have three peak challenge in North West England lake district to test climb three different peaks Helvellyn, Skiddaw and CatBells. This is both to get to know each other and to try out physically what it is like to keep going day after day.

If we survive this and the doctor still thinks it’s ok to continue to Kilimanjaro then we will head out for the real challenge in February 2020 which is 5800 meters high and in Africa!

More information

… about my preparation for both of the climbs here on my blog

…about my progress, training and high lights during the journey + videos posted to my Twitter account.

…about Autovista Kilimanjaro Challenge and why we are doing this + about the other teams before us you can find on the Autovista Kilimanjaro Challenge website.

Last but least, please help me achieve my target. It would be great to hit the midpoint mark!

Continue Reading

Finding high places – Three Peak Challenge is approaching fast!

As part of our preparation to Kilimanjaro we are all doing a ”test challenge/climb” first week of October 2019 in the Lake District National park North West England. We will be climbing three separate fells Helvellyn 950 m, Skiddaw 931 m and Cat bells 451 m on consecutive days. I do not know the order yet but there is still 39 days to go so I am sure we will get more info when the time approaches.

We need to visit our local doctor before both Three peak preparation climb and Kilimanjaro. If no problems (physical or mental, haha) arise we are good to proceed. I have done my doctors visit and all was well apart from my hemoglobin being low, but nothing iron supplements should not fix.

Anyway the three peak climb is fast approaching so did a bit of googling on where we are going. Scenery again amazing and three very versatile and different climbs ahead.

Helvellyn 950 m

There seems to be multiple routes to the top of which many seem a bit like in Norway where you have a narrow path between steep fall on each side. Elevation gain seems to be around 800 so I assume the routes leave from around 100 meters above sea level. Sounds like fun and after Queen’s route I am confident I can do this. Helvellyn cannot be worse!

Skiddaw 931 m

Up to the top again it seems like there are many different routes. Ascent again closer to 800 I suppose depending on where we start from. This seems like a more even path so no need to be on your hands and knees! Reminds me a bit of Pallas in Lapland which we climbed in July 2019

Cat bells 451 m

Smallest fell of the three and difficulty seems not to be as hard as Helvellyn, but not as easy as Skiddaw with a few rougher spots along the way up. Should be OK and nice shorter on pretty good gravel path a part from the top section.

I am cautiously getting excited about the trip as it’s only a bit over a month away! Already wondering what to wear as I am sure it will be a bit colder already even though England is more South than Finland (or Lapland!).

Of course you never know about the weather either so rain proof is must to take along, not to mention windproof as it is bound to be windy up there too. Never been to Manchester either or area around the Lake District so looking forward to visiting this part of the country too.

Continue Reading