Cumbria will next month welcome a pair of pioneers who are aiming to set a new record with a gruelling test of physical endurance.

Katherine Wilkins and Martin Johnston of The Retreat fitness and wellbeing centre near Riding Mill in Northumberland will be attempting the United Kingdom Four Peaks Row.

The challenge, which has never been done before, will see the pair attempt to row between Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and conquer each country’s highest peak.

The pair are due to be landing their boat at Whitehaven on June 6, before setting off to climb Scafell Pike.

Katherine said the pair would be grateful for the support of locals to help push them through the mammoth task, which is estimated to take them just under three weeks.

“This is something that’s not just about physical fitness. It is going to be mentally difficult as well,” said Katherine, 27, from Hexham. “There are a lot of elements that are out of our control.

“The sea can decide to be kind or it can be absolutely gruelling and we’re totally at the mercy of that."

“There will be some points where we’ll be rowing and we’ll be struggling to make any distance at all because of the weather and the tides.”

Katherine, founder of The Retreat, will be attempting the challenge alongside head trainer, Martin, 30, from Haltwhistle, a former Royal Marine Commando.

Martin, 30, from Haltwhistle, is a former Royal Marine Commando and has passed the Commando Test - considered to be one of the hardest physical military tests in the world.

Katherine, from Hexham, is an athlete at Loughborough University and has played squash at a semi professional level.

“I’m excited and a little anxious because I don’t come from a rowing background, but I’m a bit of a yes man," he said.

“I can never turn down a challenge. Doing something that can nearly break you can make you a better person.”

Martin, who was convinced to join Katherine in her challenge added that he wanted to leave a marker down for future generations.

He said: “I said yes straight away without even thinking about it, really.

“Bearing in mind, I get sea sick - but here I am.

“We went out on a practice row this weekend from Whitehaven and within the first three hours I was projectile vomiting whilst rowing, but it didn’t stop me.

“What really appealed to me is that no one has ever done it before.

“Even if ten people do it after me, or if they do it ten times faster, I’m not really bothered. I’m just bothered about completing it and being the first to complete it.

“My biggest fear is coming back and not completing it.”

On her own motivation, Katherine said it was “the thought of doing something that’s never been done and creating a new path of adventure for other people to enjoy for years to come.”

If completed, the challenge will see the duo climb 14,498 ft, by summiting Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Slieve Donard and Ben Nevis, and row 888 miles.

Katherine said they were preparing for the extreme mental and physical pressures their bodies could experience, including sleep deprivation and inadequate calorie intake.

She added: “What we’re probably worried about is that we could get five weeks of being totally wet. If the weather is not kind to us, we’re going to struggle to get warm and dry.

“The thing we would love most in the world would be a high-pressure system and some good weather, but we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed for that.

“The other thing we’re probably slightly worried about is sea sickness. So far, we’ve been fine but things happen after seven or eight days and everyone at some stage will get sea sick.

“I think we’re both really looking forward to a cold pint at the end on Ben Nevis.”

The expedition is being funded by corporate sponsors, but it will also be raising money for Mind. Visit to donate.You can donate by visiting their fundraising page.

The teams schedule may change due to weather conditions and the sea state, but regular updates and a live tracker will be available.