DESPITE saying “never again” after completing the 108-mile ‘Spine Challenger South’ in January 2022, intrepid adventurer Andrew Geeson has decided to take on yet another challenge in aid of his local Black Mountains rescue team.

And that's despite the 63-year-old having had two hip replacements.

The Montane Winter Spine MRT Challenge is a non-stop, 160-mile race along the Pennine Way starting on Monday (January 15) from Hardraw in North Yorkshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders..

Runners have a time limit of 108 hours (four and a half days) to get to the finish line, crossing some of the most beautiful but difficult terrain in Britain including the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviots.

This is one of the most physically and mentally demanding races out there, made even tougher by the ferocity and intensity of the British winter.

Andrew, who will be raising funds for the Abergavenny-based Longtown Mountain Rescue Team said: “I completed the MRT South challenge in January 2022, 108 miles but just managed to finish in time after trying to find another competitor in difficulty.

Longtown Mountain Rescue based in Abergavenny are on call 24/7 to help people and rescued an injured walker in this incident last November

“This year, I’m not racing anyone else. I just wish to enjoy the adventure and finish.”

Andrew has been relentlessly preparing in the build up to the race, doing walks of up to 33 miles and the odd 20 followed by another 20 the next day.

“There has been no particular training plan! My highest mileage for a week has been just over 70 miles, mainly walking with lots of hills, which is perfect as I live in Crickhowell," he added.

“I’ve done similar long distance events before, it’s my midlife crisis that keeps going!”

Andrew has been a member of Longtown MRT for over three years.

It was originally formed in 1965 to help people in difficulties in the Black Mountains, now based at Union Road Industrial Estate in Abergavenny, the team's role has now expanded to include a wide variety of situations, where the police consider whether their assistance and expertise might be of benefit.

The independent charity is responsible for the team's funding and management.

Being purely self funded can come with its challenges, especially as they need over £35k a year to keep vehicles and kit in good shape.

Moreover, the team consists solely of volunteers from all walks of life, with a wide variety of occupations, who give up their free time to combine a love of the outdoors with serving the community, assisting people in distress.

This commitment means they can be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as attending the training required to increase and maintain the necessary skills needed to operate.

Andrew said: “Donations, no matter how small, will help ensure that the Longtown Mountain Rescue Team can continue their vital work.

"You never know when you might need mountain rescue. An afternoon walk goes wrong and the team respond and organise casualty care and an airlift to hospital.”

Andrew has set up a JustGiving page, where he adds continuous updates on his progress.