A FUNDRAISING idea to climb Mount Kilimanjaro that started as a 'bit of a joke' will soon become reality for four friends from South Craven.

In February, James Waring, Scott Black, Ryan Fountain, and Agatha Cooper, will be trekking up to the summit of dormant volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

James says the 'unlikely walking group' met while working in the Old White Bear in Cross Hills.

He said: "The idea started as a joke while out on a stroll one day around nine months ago but quickly became a reality.

"We will be climbing - probably crawling - up to the 19,341 ft summit over seven days via the Machame route, a far bigger challenge than any of us have undertaken before."

The friends have set themselves a target of raising £10,000 for Cancer Research UK, following the death of Agatha's father from cancer, and have already raised £5,620.

James said: "After Ags' dad unfortunately passed away from cancer, we decided this would be a great way to raise money for this ever important cause. We are self funding the trip so all donations will go straight to the charity."

The hike will take more than seven days and is around 40 miles long. The first around five and a half days will be walking to the summit, with coming down expected to take another around a day and a half. They will be camping out in tents every night of the hike.

James added: "We aren’t your usual group of walkers so we're not doing training walks each week, last week we did Whernside and this week, we did a 10 mile loop including the Old man of Coniston. There’s not much we can do for the altitude training other that to just try to be as fit as we can.

"The idea spawned as a bit of a joke early last year but then it didn’t take long until it was booked. It seemed a long way off at the time but it’s come round very quickly."

Donations can be made online at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kiliclimb2023