A nine-year-old boy has become the youngest Brit ever to scale Mount Kilimanjaro.
Intrepid Zain Ackrim hiked to the top of Africa’s tallest peak in just over six days, reaching the summit at 11.15am on August 8.
His 12-year-old brother Rehan and ten other people joined him on the 5,895m climb.
Zain, from Holland Park, London, spent months preparing for the ascent.
The previous record for a British junior was held by Jack Rea who climbed the mountain at 10 years and 22 old in July 2014.
Zain, who is nine years eleven months, said: “I’m still tired now.
“I was happy to get to the top. I was just really happy because we had been training for so long.
“The summit night was the hardest part. It was a lot of walking.”
Asked if he would do it again, he said “no.”
Brother Rehan added: “I was happy to get to the top but then I thought I have to go all the way back down.
“I’m excited to possibly be in the record books.
“The acclimatisation machine was the hardest part of the training. You just had sit there for hours and it got quite boring.”
The group included people from London, Scotland and Florida and the five days leading to the final push were spent slowly getting used to the mountain, at various altitudes.
In the first day they managed to ascend 3,010m to the Machame camp and then made it to successive camps on the other days.
Day two saw them reach Shira camp (3,845 m) before they made Uruhu Peak at 5,895m on day 6.
The final ascent was made at night because the scree is frozen and psychologically it is better to make the final push at day break as the climbers can not see how far they have to travel.
Zain’s father, Reheel, a 49 year-old accountant who accompanied them, said: “I’m so thrilled.
“I’m incredibly proud of what the boys have achieved. It was a real achievement for all of us.
“They were pretty amazing – the two boys. For the whole week, they were always walking up the front with the guides.
“The boys did really well. I wasn’t nervous for the boys at all. I knew they could do it. I was more nervous for myself to be honest.
“We didn’t know Zain was the youngest person when we set off. It was great to find out he was. It was only during the climb that one of the other climbers said you should look it up.”
“That’s when realised. It’s brilliant.”
The boys spent months preparing for the climb, including a five day hike in the Italian Alps, regular trips up and down Snowdon, plus a weekly Sunday hike – in Boxhill, Surrey.
Their father also hired an altitude acclimatisation machine for the boys to use at home, with them using it for an hour a day for two months.
They also had to get the park to sign a waiver to allow Zain to climb up the mountain as there is normally age minimum of 10-years-old.
The group of hikers comprised various friends from London, Scotland and Florida, with days starting at 6.30 and the climbs lasting between four and nine hours each day.
Raheel added: “Even though it was just a couple of weeks ago, you forget how hard it is.
“It was really only on the summit night that they struggled. The summit was definitely the hardest part.
“This was the highest altitude the boys had been. They hadn’t really got much sleep. They struggled tremendously.
“It was sub zero as well. We all had to really wrap up. Even then, your fingers and toes still got cold. It was so cold that the water froze.”
The brothers were both inspired to take on the climb by the prospect of raising funds to build classrooms in schools in Africa.
They wanted to raise money and awareness for a building and supporting a school building program in Tanzania and Kenya via the Global Angels Foundation, a UK registered charity.
Before starting their climb, the boys visited two Tanzanian school projects and were humbled by the lack of facilities at the schools.
They have so far raised £4,500 and you can follow their journey and donate at hiking-to-the-top.uk