A PLUCKY Newport schoolgirl is completing the final stages of her training in a bid to become the youngest person from Wales to climb to the roof of Africa.

Tesni Francis-Parker, aged just 12, from Abergavenny, is preparing to pack her climbing boots and gear and head half way around the world to tackle Mt Kilimanjaro.

South Wales Argus:

Miss Francis-Parker, who attends Welsh medium Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Iscoed, and enjoys geography and PE, regularly climbs in the Brecon Beacons. She will make her school half-term attempt on the 19,340ft Tanzanian monster with her global mountaineer accountant dad Gary.

South Wales Argus:

A keen swimmer, Miss Francis-Parker is a member of City of Newport Swimming and Water Polo club who trains six times a week. She said: “In Wales I have climbed Snowdon, Pen-y-fan, Blorenge, Sugar Loaf and Skirrid.

“I can climb up mountains from where I live in Abergavenny. I go up the local mountains a few times a week.

“One day, for training, I went up Skirrid four times.

“Last year I went on a road trip through Spain, the Pyrenees, Italy and France. We went up Mt Vesuvius and some mountains in the Pyrenees and Chamonix.

“We always go up mountains on holiday.”

South Wales Argus:

Asked how she was feeling about travelling all the way to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro, Miss Francis-Parker said: “I’m excited and a little nervous.”

“Being the youngest person from Wales to have done this not the most important thing, but I think it will be a good thing at the beginning of my mountaineering experiences.

Miss Francis-Parker hopes to inspire other children around her age to get out and exploring. She also has plans to continue her adventures beyond Kilimanjaro.

“I want to climb more mountains afterwards especially in the Alps after going to Chamonix last year,” she said.

“Dad has climbed Kilimanjaro a few times and leads groups up there. I will feel safe with him.”

Her father Gary is MD of Parker and Co Accountants, Waterside Court, Crindau, Newport. He leads mountaineering expeditions around the globe and has climbed Kilimanjaro six times.

South Wales Argus:

Mr Parker, aged 63, said: “I first climbed it by the Western Breach Route which is more of a mountaineering climb than the others some years ago.”

Mr Parker says he believes adventure must be in Tesni’s genes.

He has previously competed in Ultra events such as the Everest Marathon and the North Pole Marathon and said: “Tesni was the one who suggested we could climb Kilimanjaro.

“It is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. The main thing I will need to keep an eye on with Tesni is acclimatising for the altitude.

“She has shown an enthusiastic interest in the mountains and I want to encourage her spirit.”

Tesni and Gary fly out to Tanzania on Saturday, February 23 and will start their six-day ascent on Monday, February 25.