A father has spoken of his fear and pride after he ascended Europe’s highest summit with his 13-year-old son – now the youngest Scot to have scaled the mountain.
Former Royal Marine Mike Byrne, of Stonehaven, climbed Mount Elbrus, on Russia’s border with Georgia, with his boy Liam earlier this month.
The pair, part of a group of six, battled thunderstorms and freezing temperatures to conquer the 18,510ft peak.
Mr Byrne, 44, said the Russian experience had “really matured” his teenage son, a pupil at Mackie Academy.
He added: “He just did amazing, there were areas that were very hard. You’re an easy target for lightning, and I have never seen weather change so fast.
“Guys lose fingers and toes all the time. People obviously die in these things and I worried about that.”
Liam has now conquered two of the world’s “seven summits” within the space of a year, having climbed Kilimanjaro in 2013.
The father and son were led by Charlie Paton, a professional expedition leader and former Royal Marine from Aberdeen.
Mr Paton, 44, said the group also dealt with the death of another walker who lost his life on the mountain while the north-east climbers made their way to the top.
He said: “Any mountain has got its dangers and it’s just up to people to prepare themselves properly and use commonsense, really.
“The guy was told not to go up any further. He chose to ignore the advice and, unfortunately, he died.”
Of his teenage mountaineering companion, Mr Paton said: “He is a good, strong character. He is mentally strong and he’s determined for a young lad.”