AN INSPIRING trip to the top of one of the world’s tallest mountains is hoped to encourage young girls living with chronic pain.

Siobhan Crichton, from Rosyth, returned from Tanzania on Monday after spending seven days hiking to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The 36-year-old took on the challenge in a bid to raise money for Endometriosis UK, a charity which has helped her through some of her worst times.

“I have been diagnosed with endometriosis for over 20 years and have had umpteen surgeries,” she told the Press. “There have been times over the past few years where I couldn’t even get out of bed.

“I wanted to inspire young girls and say yes, there will be times you can’t get out of bed, but you can do anything. When I got to the peak I burst into tears, I never imagined my body would be able to do something like this.”

Siobhan lives with stage four endometriosis, a chronic condition which, according to her chosen charity, affects one in 10 women across the world.

It occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, it can happen at any age, and there is no cure.

At its most severe, the grade Siobhan was diagnosed with, the disorder can result in pain and sickness, while also causing difficulties in getting pregnant.

“Over the past few years I really struggled,” she added. “I couldn’t get pregnant and the infertility really affected my mental health, for a long time I felt embarrassed. For a while it made me suicidal, I just didn’t want to keep going.”

Facing the biggest physical challenge of her life, Siobhan says there was nothing which could have prepared her for the climb.

“I have done a few Munros and I think I have been over the Forth Road Bridge more times than I ever have before,” she explained. “I went with a group of 13 people who I had never met before.

“On summit day there were people with altitude sickness, people saying ‘I can’t do this’. It was never ending, we left at 11pm at night and all you could see was head torches.

“We were cold, tired and sore, but everyone was saying no, we will get there by sunrise. Everyone made it – a few of us struggled, including myself – but when we came down we had a big celebration and were all just saying ‘We did it!’”

Siobhan has raised more than £3,500 herself, while her work, the People’s Postcode Lottery, have agreed to add to this with a donation of £3,000, bringing her total to over £6,500.

The company is an endometriosis-friendly employer, which has made working easier for her as she knows there is an understanding of what she is going through.

“I have been really lucky with my support network, even when I was in school I used to hide the fact that I had bad periods,” she added. “I had to take a week off school every month, I felt humiliated. Hopefully this will show people that your body really can do amazing things.”

Rob Letham, managing director at People’s Postcode Lottery, passed on his congratulations: “Siobhan has inspired us all with her courage, determination and kindness to not only summit Kilimanjaro but also raising thousands of pounds for a great cause.”

Endometriosis UK provide advice and support for those diagnosed, while also lobbying politicians to update guidelines regarding the condition.

You can learn more here: and you can donate to Siobhan’s cause here: