A RETIRED forensic psychologist who really wants to do a bit of gardening and walk the dog is undertaking training for a triathlon equivalent so she can achieve a lifelong dream of seeing gorillas in the wild – and raise money to help them.

After retiring ten years ago, 68-year-old Ann Barrowclough from Snape, near Bedale, tried to improve her fitness levels but had to overcome major problems after breaking both ankles in a freak accident in 2016. Now she is on a mission to ensure she is fit enough to climb 3,600 metre high Mount Sabinyo in the Virunga mountain range in Uganda where she is hoping to see gorillas in the wild, while raising £4,200 for the Born Free Foundation.

She said: “It was quite a stretch to start training in winter in lockdown. I am currently in the middle of a three month ‘triathlon’, tasking myself with cycling 250 miles in April; walking 200 miles in May, and climbing 12,000 steps in June. I completed 256 miles on my bike and have done 69.65 miles on foot so far this month, hoping to inspire more donations.

“Roseberry Topping was my first climb, but in ten days I visit Scotland to climb some Monroes and Bens.

“This challenge is completely out of my comfort zone. I could be content with doing a bit of gardening and dog walking but have had a lifelong concern for the welfare of animals cruelly treated.

“This began in the 1970s when I saw ‘Guy’, a wild lowland gorilla, captured as a baby and kept isolated in a cage at London Zoo until he died aged 32. Over the years I have sponsored gorillas and elephants through the Worldwide Fund for Nature, but a series of coincidences last year led me to discover a ‘Dream-Challenges’ trek into the Virunga Mountains to see these magnificent animals in their natural environment. Apart from the fitness levels, I will also have to overcome a reluctance to encounter insects and spiders, and snakes in a jungle environment while climbing mountains in both heat and humidity.”

Ann believes she will be good to go in September. She has raised more than £3,000 so far and has until the end of June to reach the target.