BATTLING altitude sickness is not an everyday occurrence - but climbing Mount Kilimanjaro it was one obstacle Jim Burns had to overcome to get to the top.
Jim, financial services manager for estate agents Andrew Kelly and Associates, Yorkshire Street, Rochdale took on the challenge in October this year and has raised over £4,500 for disabled children's charity, Whizzkids.
The 46-year-old has been a keen walker for most of his adult life. He completed a charity walk in 1999 for the same organisation when he visited the Pohara region of the Himalayas.
Jim flew from Heathrow to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and travelled to the foot of the mountain in Tanzania.
The climb began through a rain forest where it was hot and humid. At 9,000 feet the group stopped to rest at the Mandara camp.
Jim said: "Several people were told off for walking too fast. We had to keep a steady pace so we didn't tire and get sick."
The day afterwards the climbers walked for eight hours through more rain forest and out onto scrub-land. At 12,000 feet they bedded down for the night at the Horumbo camp.
On the third day they had a well-deserved rest and a chance to get used to the increasing altitude. By the fourth day Jim and his group had reached the exposed afro-alpine landscape on a plateau between the two peaks of Africa's highest mountain.
"A lot of people were feeling ill by this point," said Jim. "They weren't breathing properly and not eating. I'd started to feel sick."
They walked for another eight hours that day, eventually reaching Kibo, the main camp on the mountain, where they tried to get some sleep.
At 11.30pm, they were awoken for the final climb. Jim said: "It was very cold. We'd lost a couple of people through altitude sickness. We reached the lower peak, Gilman's Point, at 6.30am."
More people dropped out at this point but Jim persevered. A small group reached the ice cap and the highest peak of the mountain, Uhuru, standing at 19,340 feet at 9am. They then had a full day to get back down the mountain.
Jim said: "It was the hardest thing I've ever done but I'm going to do another one next year. I have a young lad and I didn't want to go back and tell him I didn't do it. But everyone who took part did well, wherever they got to.
"I'm grateful for all the donations, and thanks to everyone who helped me to go."