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Record-breaker Phil is on top of the world

News and Star photographer Phil Rigby is feeling on top of the world after climbing the highest mountain in each of the five countries in the British Isles in world record time.

Phil, (48), and fellow climber Andrew Scowroft, (27), raced to mountain summits in the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland in 16 hours and 43 minutes, including helicopter journeys between peaks.

The photographer, who has worked at the Carlisle-based News and Star since 1979, shaved three hours off the previous record, and the times are now being checked by Guinness Book of Records bosses.

  • Phil (left) and Andrew on the summit of Snowdon
  • Phil was racing to raise cash for the Cumberland News Cancer scanner appeal – and the £11,000 he has raised so far will be used to buy a new portable cancer scanner for Cumberland Infirmary.

    The climbers started their challenge at 4am and were finished by 9pm the same day.

    Phil said: “Everything went really well and there were no problems with navigation.

    “We had been on hold since June 7 because bad weather meant that it wasn’t possible to travel between the peaks by helicopter but I was just ready to get cracking.

    “We made up a lot of time on the first two peaks, Carrantuohill and Slieve Donard, and we ran on all the downhill parts.”

    Phil, who has been a keen climber for more than 30 years, prepared for the challenge by running 14 miles every day and working out in the gym.

    He said: “It was a great experience. There was amazing scenery but we didn’t really have a chance to look at it because the challenge was so frantic.

    “We had to run all the downhill parts and all the flats and that is how we made it, but I spent a lot of the time watching my feet.”

  • Phil’s journey took him to Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, Snowdon in Wales, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland and Carrantuohill in the Irish Republic.

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