AN 86-YEAR-OLD blind military veteran is taking on a “relentless” hike up the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom.

Peter Burbery, from Patcham, is almost completely blind and will be taking on the challenge this Wednesday, June 29 with the help of his friend Chris Cheeseman.

Peter was in the Royal Sussex Regiment in the 1950s, while Chris, 50, from Portslade, is also a veteran having served in the Royal Navy for seven years from 1990.

The pair struck up a friendship when Chris joined Blind Veterans as a volunteer in 2018 and regularly walk together in the area surrounding Brighton.

The Argus: Chris and Peter on a walk on the South Downs WayChris and Peter on a walk on the South Downs Way

On one of their walks, Chris asked Peter what his bucket-list hike would be. His answer came as a surprise.

Chris told The Argus: “I was expecting something like walking the South Downs Way, then he said Ben Nevis because ‘he’s never done it before’.

“We built up to it from 2018 and planned to do it in May 2020, but the pandemic got in the way.

“He has been worried about his health since the pandemic and whether he would ever be able to do it.

The Argus: Peter is a keen hikerPeter is a keen hiker

“He has a very supportive family and his daughter also goes out walking with him to keep him fit.

“We have got more adventurous with our walks again in the last year or so, he has started to feel more confident with walking again.

“He has more confidence in himself and his ability to accomplish it. He doesn’t want to arrange to go up there and not be able to do it.

“He has only lived outside of Sussex for two years of his life, his two years doing national service in the 1950s for the Royal Sussex Regiment.

The Argus: Peter was in the Royal Sussex RegimentPeter was in the Royal Sussex Regiment

“Peter is also a lifetime member of the Lewes Wanderers cycling group.”

In terms of the hike, Ben Nevis is 1,345 metres above sea level and is the highest land in any direction for 459 miles.

Chris added: “It’s a walk rather than a mountain climb but it’s a challenging one.

“The mountain path on Ben Nevis is relentless, once you get on the path you are continually climbing until you reach the top. The only time you’re not climbing is when you stop moving.

The Argus: Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom. Picture from PABen Nevis is the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom. Picture from PA

“I have been up there before and seen a chap in his 70s. It is do-able but you have got to be prepared. It will be a challenge obviously as Britain’s highest mountain and the fact he won’t be able to see where he’s putting his feet.”

They went up to Scotland yesterday, June 27, with the plan to tackle the mountain tomorrow, June 29.

Chris said: “The plan is June 29 or June 30 depending on the weather. He doesn’t want to do a long drive, have a rushed sleep and then hurdle up a mountain. He’s well aware he will need a day to stretch and do some light exercise beforehand.

“The hike should be about 12 to 14 hours for us whereas most people could do it in six or seven hours usually.”