THE Chiltern Three Peaks Challenge has encouraged a four year friendship between a man from Monks Risborough and a dog.

Cocoa, a chocolate Labrador, has accompanied Stephen Biggs every year since the first challenge in 2009, despite belonging to friend, Martha Blackwell.

Martha planned to walk Cocoa at the first event but was unable to attend at the last minute so he joined Stephen, and they now regularly go for walks together.

Stephen said: "I have always enjoyed walking, especially with the Chilterns Hills on our doorstep, and knowing Cocoa is always ready for a walk is a great incentive to me to get out and enjoy the beautiful countryside."

Martha is ‘delighted’ with the arrangement too as she is often busy with her children’s activities.

Cocoa and Stephen want to encourage others to follow their example and those who fancy some canine company during a walk in the Chilterns hills, should sign up for the Chilterns Three Peaks Challenge, which will take place on Sunday, September 16 and participants can choose between a five, nine and 18 mile walk.

Entry costs £15 for adults, £7.50 for children. Dogs (either borrowed or owned) are free! Registration is open at