Intrepid charity team has a mountain or four to climb
A Church of Ireland minister from Ballymena and a Tyrone family are racing up the highest peaks in Northern Ireland and the Republic this weekend in a unique charity challenge.
They are part of a group called Team Poverty Over who have decided to take on the challenge of the Christian Aid 4:48 Hike - four mountains in 48 hours - in order to raise money for the charity and enable it to continue its work overseas.
They began their 48-hour challenge in Newcastle, Co Down, yesterday with a climb up Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains before travelling today to Co Wicklow for the next instalment of their challenge, a trek up Lughnaquilla.
From there the group will head to Connacht to climb Mweelrea in Co Mayo.
After a brief stay in a hostel the team will take on the highest mountain in Ireland and climb Munster's Carrauntoohill in Co Kerry; finishing back in Newcastle at 2pm on Sunday, completing the challenge within 48 hours.
Canon Stuart Lloyd, rector of St Patrick's in Ballymena, has previously climbed Slemishmore than 50 times.
He said: "I have always been a keen climber of Slemish, following in St Patrick's footsteps.
"I like climbing mountains; in this case it is with a purpose, and that is to enhance the work of Christian Aid."
The team members ages range from their teens to their 60s. Altogether, the team will have climbed 11,000 feet.
Four members of the Hanson family from Dromore, Co Tyrone, are also involved in the challenge. Presbyterian minister Rev John Hanson and his children have climbed mountains on five continents and are looking forward to the challenge.
Rev Hanson's son Jonny said: "We have experienced poverty first hand in many of the places we have climbed, this is the perfect opportunity to combine our love of mountains with our Christian faith, taking positive steps to help the world's poor."
Christian Aid's Adrian Horsman said: "All of the money raised will go towards our work in some of the world's poorest communities; this is a serious physical challenge, they are certainly putting the boot into poverty."