A TOP mountaineer who has climbed the highest mountain on each continent has his sights set on a new challenge.

Ripon arable farmer Chris Brown, who scaled Mount Everest in 1999 at the age of 52, is preparing to cycle the length of New Zealand with Chris I’Anson, managing director of Masham-based farm feeds business I’Anson Bros Limited.

The pair are attempting to complete the 1,500-mile ride in 19-days across a route that covers more than 70,000ft of hill climbs.

They are raising money for Parkinson’s UK and mental health charity Claro Enterprises and have been in training for many months to ensure they can achieve the 85-mile a day average needed to complete the journey within three weeks.

Mr Brown said: “Parkinson’s UK and Claro Enterprises are both important charities which do amazing work nationally and locally within the Yorkshire region.

"Both myself and Chris are keen members of Ripon Runners but as there’s over 75,000 feet of climbs to pedal up, this will be our cycling Everest.

“We have been training hard and are looking forward to flying out to New Zealand.

"With the public’s help we would love to raise as much money as we possibly can.”

The pair will be accompanied by support driver Paul Smith along a route that will take them from the very top of the North Island at Cape Reinga down to the southernmost tip of the South Island at Bluff.

Mr I’Anson said it was an opportunity he could not turn down.

He said: “When Chris came to me with the idea of a charity cycle ride across New Zealand, I just couldn’t say no.

"It is going to be tough mentally and physically, however it is for two very worthwhile causes and knowing that all the money raised will be going to great charities will keep us going over the 2,200km journey.”

The team is due to fly to New Zealand on Sunday, January 21 and begin their challenge on January 29.

The money they raise will be shared equally between Parkinson’s UK and Harrogate-based charity Claro Enterprises, which helps improve the quality of life and employment prospects for people with mental health problems.

Donations are welcomed through the team’s Virgin Money Giving page by visiting uk.virginmoneygiving.com and type in Chris Brown or Chris I’Anson.