Northampton personal trainer conquers Kilimanjaro backwards

A personal trainer who is trying to become the first person to climb backwards up and down Mount Kilimanjaro has made it to the summit.

Ben Stewart, aged 32, left his home in Northampton eight days ago to tackle Africa's highest mountain.

He is raising money for the British Heart Foundation after his grandfather died suddenly from a heart attack.

Mr Stewart has already tackled the highest peaks in the British Isles using his unconventional technique.

Two other people, one from South Africa and the other from Nepal, had previously climbed backwards to the summit of the 5,895m (19,340ft) mountain - but Mr Stewart is hoping to become the first to climb up and down in reverse.

Snow-topped mountain with animals on the arid terrain in the foreground
In a message from the summit, Mr Stewart said he had become the first European to climb up the mountain backwards

In a recorded message to BBC Radio Northampton on Tuesday morning, he said: "Me and a handful of the team made it to the summit successfully so that totally makes me the first European ever to make it up to the summit [backwards].

"We now walk down the mountain to become the world's first.

"Thank you for your support sharing this story."

With a large team to guide him, Mr Stewart said he was not worried about falling during his ascent, but there was another issue.

He said: "What is more of a problem is the damage I can do to my neck from looking over my shoulder as I walk, which is why I have been using a special neck training device".

The British Heart Foundation is an important cause for Mr Stewart following the death of his grandfather at the age of 65 in 2010.

Before he set off, he told BBC Radio Northampton: "He was far too young to have a heart attack and pass away from it.

"But now he's on my shoulder and in my ear telling me I can do these amazing things, and help raise awareness for heart conditions that are so often overlooked."

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