An intrepid North Berwick man described his world-record-breaking efforts as “just amazing”, after tackling whales and pirates to complete a mammoth journey of nearly 5,000 miles.

Jamie Douglas-Hamilton was among a seven-person crew who left Geraldton, on the west coast of Australia, in early June, rowing across the Indian Ocean and arriving at the Seychelles last Thursday after 57 days at sea.

They made the fastest-ever crossing of the Indian Ocean by oar, while also setting the longest rowing record in the ocean.

The 32-year-old ultra endurance athlete took inspiration from his grandfather, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton and commander of 602 City of Glasgow Squadron, who was one of two Scots pilots who were the first to fly over the summit of Mount Everest in 1933.

He told the Courier: “It was the most amazing feeling and one that we will all remember for the rest of our lives.

“Hopefully it’s something we are all able to tell our grandkids and we can inspire them like my grandfather did.” The crew, skippered by another Scot, Leven Brown, included rowers from South Africa, Australia, Iceland and Wales and they rowed 24 hours a day, working in two-hourly shifts.

However, the county adventurer was quick to point out the trip was not without its problems.

“One of the crew got first degree burns and we had to contact a ship to rescue us in the middle of the ocean,” he said. “We encountered some real problems, as the boat almost came down on top of us and cracked us in two.

“That was the biggest adrenaline rush I’ve ever experienced.” He also admitted the crew, reduced from seven to six, went through prolonged periods where they questioned whether they would finish the expadition.

Jamie added: “Five-thousand miles is a long way, and all the time you’re thinking ‘this is going to be a slow journey’. You have all this self-doubt, we all did, but nobody ever talked about it and we just dragged each other through it.” The epic adventure was put together to raise funds for the Save the Elephants charity, founded by Jamie’s cousin, zoologist Iain Douglas-Hamilton, and so far the mammoth rowing efforts have raised almost £6,000.

Iain added: “I am so proud of my cousin Jamie, and in awe at the courage, endurance and idealism of the captain and the crew.” It was never going to be easy, and the team faced enormous challenges on their odyssey, including the rescue of the crewman, three capsizes in the tail-end of a hurricane and a collision with what was thought to be a blue whale.

Then, just as the crew approached the Seychelles, they had an unusual radio conversation with another vessel, which they believed to be pirates.

In what Jamie described as “a true Captain Phillips moment”, skipper Brown told the suspected pirates they were an armed boat awaiting a Royal Navy escort and warned them not to approach, which put off the pirate ship.

But last Thursday, they arrived in the Seychelles as record-breakers, having conquered the infamous route that had never been completed before, in nine attempts.