The power, strength and discipline of a Mearns strongman has lifted him into the record books.
Paul Benton has become the first Scotsman to win the coveted UK’s Strongest Man competition, a gruelling-three day event in St Albans.
He fought off a challenge from competition favourite Graham Hicks, the current British champion, as he went into the final discipline of the Atlas Stones.
Mr Benton, of Laurencekirk, had a podium place in his sights and stunned everyone as he stormed his way into first place.
The 30-year-old began the weekend as one of 16 finalists – three from Scotland and Wales, four from Ireland and six from England.
He qualified for the UK event after winning the Scotland Strongman Competition at Jedburgh in June.
Mr Benton had set the bar high over the first two days, being placed first in the “car flip” and truck pull events.
He said: “There are 13 events in total over the three days – the toughest in the world.
“I placed first in the car flip – where you have to flip a car weighing 700 kilos, twice, and was also first in the truck pull where you pull two arctic lorries.
“You pull one for three metres (9ft), the strap tightens and you then pull them both – 16 tonnes over 25 metres (82ft).”
But despite his success, Mr Benton was still half a point behind the crowd favourite as he went into the final event.
Using his experience from past competitions, he managed to fight back against Mr Hicks, who had suffered an injury on the first day.
He kept the crowd on the edge of their seats as he battled it out to lift the five Atlas Stones – which weigh between 100-150 kilos – onto barrels.
He said: “I was focused on getting my podium position. Whoever won the stones was going to win the title.
“I put the third stone up and saw Graham hobble over the fourth stone, I wasn’t sure what was going on.
“I loaded my fourth stone, Graham collapsed on the ground with an injury.
“Because my fourth stone was up I didn’t feel I had to rub it in. I was concerned for him, he’s a really good guy.”
Mr Benton, captain of the Scottish Strongman team, is now hoping to inspire young members of his gym that hard work pays off.