A COWDENBEATH grandmother is heading to dizzy heights to raise money for charity.

Later this month, Sandra Thomson, 71, will head to Peru to take on the 26-mile Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

The challenge will see the former Dunfermline Press executive secretary reach a height of 4,215 metres during a trek lasting four days and three nights.

She was spurred onto join up for the feat for the Finding Your Feet charity after hearing about local woman Marguerite Henderson who lost her legs and hands to sepsis several years ago.

"I was completely shocked when I heard about Marguerite," she said.

"They did manage to save part of a hand with a thumb and bits of two fingers but it has changed her life completely. Who could believe such a simple thing could be so devastating and life changing?

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"Life is so precious but those of us who are healthy take it so much for granted.

Sandra Thomson who is taking on the Inca Trail for charity.Sandra Thomson who is taking on the Inca Trail for charity. (Image: Contributed)

"Last year I was fortunate to meet Nicola Booth through a mutual friend and discovered that she was CEO for Finding Your Feet charity, the only organisation in Scotland to support amputees and their families.

"Nicola mentioned the charity were planning to trek the Inca Trail as part of their 10 year anniversary celebrations this year and asked if I would be interested. I didn't have to be asked twice!"

Not a stranger to taking on a challenge, Sandra, who is a mum of two with five grandchildren and two great grandchildren, has completed 277 individual Munros – many of them more than once.

She has also hiked in the French Pyrennees, the Atlas Mountains, the Rila mountains in Bulgaria, the mountains of Madeira and completed the Mont Blanc circuit from Chamonix.

Last month, she climbed to the top of Mount Toubkal in Morocco, the highest peak in North Africa at 4,167 metres.

"This was a two day trek covering an arduous 22 miles - although I managed to blag a ride on a donkey for some of the way - and an overnight stay in a refuge.

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"On summit day, we had to get up at 3.30am for a 4am start wearing head torches as it was still dark. The climb to the summit was a very steep 960 metres, the height of most Munros.

"Seeing the sun rise over the top of the Atlas mountains was a magical experience."

Sandra will take on the Inca trail as a group of 30 and will pass through ruins, mountainscapes, cloud forests and go over three passes with the highest and most dreaded being Dead Woman's Pass at 4,215 metres, 1,800 metres higher than Machu Piccu itself.

"This is the equivalent of climbing Ben Nevis but at altitude," she said. "On the final day we set off pre-dawn (3.30am) to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise.

"Then we head down to the UNESCO site, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. The Inca civilisation has no written language and as such no historical knowledge exists, the only info is the product of modern archaeologists.

"Built in the 15th century and later abandoned it is one of the seven wonders of the world."

Although aware of the magnitude of the trip, Sandra is excited to get started.

She added: "This is a huge challenge for me but it's a great opportunity to raise funds and raise awareness for this amazing charity and at the same time see one of the great wonders of the world."

Anyone wanting to help with Sandra's fundraising can do so by visiting here.