A friend of Prince Harry has ensured he will be home in time for the royal wedding – by completing a two-continent cycling challenge at record speed.
Dean Stott, 41, of Peterculter, travelled the 14,000-mile Pan American Highway in 99 days, 12 hours and 56 minutes, knocking an astonishing 17 days off the previous best.
He finished the epic feat, which took him from the tip of Argentina to Alaska, early on Saturday morning, leaving barely a week to return to the UK and take up his invitation to Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.
The former special forces soldier trained with the prince for six weeks in 2007 and the pair have stayed close, with the groom-to-be finding time this weekend to congratulate his guest on the record-breaking achievement.
Mr Stott learned he was invited to the Windsor ceremony halfway through the trip, forcing him to abandon his rest days so he could make it back in time.
His heroics have raised nearly £500,000 for the charity partners of Heads Together, a mental health campaign championed by Harry and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge.
Speaking from Alaska on Sunday evening, Mr Stott said: “When I originally set out on the campaign the world record was 117 days and five hours, my aim was to do it in 110 days.
“I did the South America phase and took 10 days off that world record, so I knew I was in a good position.
“Then the day after I got into America, my wife rang me to tell me we were being invited to the royal wedding.
“If I originally went for 110 days it would have been on day 107, so I literally had to give up my rest days and start pushing out some big miles – that was another incentive.
“I was quite comfortable knowing I had broken the world record, but it was just like ‘right, now you need to get to the wedding’.”
The former military man, who lives with wife Alana and two children, left the armed forces after suffering a knee injury from a parachuting accident.
Between now and his friend’s wedding next Saturday, Mr Stott has another major challenge – finding a suit that will fit his drastically slimmer frame.
“We land on Thursday in time for the wedding – I won’t even have a chance to go home to Aberdeen – I’ll have to get my morning suit tailored because I’ve lost about 10 kilos,” he said.
Donations can still be made to Mr Stott’s cause at www.pah18.com