The UK’s most famous mountaineer, Sir Chris Bonington, has successfully climbed the Old Man of Hoy – almost 50 years after his first ascent.
Sir Chris tackled the iconic 449-foot sea stack, part of the Orkney archipelago, to celebrate his 80th birthday.
But the famed explorer had another poignant reason for making the epic climb – to raise awareness and funds for motor neurone disease (MND) charities in memory of his wife Wendy, who died of the condition last month.
Before setting off, Sir Chris admitted that he was worried about the task ahead of him.
He said: “I’m apprehensive having reached the age of 80 and having had all too little climbing in recent months because of my wife’s illness.”
But with the assistance and company of friend and fellow climber Leo Houlding – both members of the Berghaus team of athletes – they completed their ascent just before 5pm.
Mr Houlding said before the ascent: “Weather’s looking alright. Sir Old Man on Hoy, here we go.”
Matt Hickman, of the Berghaus marketing team, last night confirmed the pair had made the summit.
Earlier on, he said: “Chris is commenting that he isn’t as flexible as the last time he did it.”
Sir Chris, who climbed Mount Everest in 1985, made the first ascent of the Old Man of Hoy in 1966.
He started climbing in 1951 at the age of 16, and over 60 years of adventure has been involved in 19 expeditions to the Himalayas, including four to Mount Everest.
He made the first British ascent of the North Face of the Eiger and the first on the notorious Ogre in Pakistan.
He has written 17 books, and presented numerous TV shows, about mountaineering.