A FORMER Royal Marine conquered the height of the world’s tallest mountain. . . in his back garden.

Kenny Simm, 37, climbed a rope and abseiled down it in his garden on the Lennoxlove Estate, near Haddington, 553 times, completing a total of 8,848 metres, the same height as Mount Everest in the Himalayas.

He completed his challenge over 48 hours, starting at 6am on April 25 and finishing at 6am on April 27.

He did not sleep in between but did occasionally stop for refreshment breaks.

Kenny said: “I think it was just a spur of the moment thing.

“I came up with the idea four days before I started it so didn’t do any prior training.

“When I was with the Marines I went off-shore and saw all these challenges people were doing and thought it would be a good thing to do.

“I wanted to do something a bit different and a bit special for charity and also to challenge myself.”

He had a four-metre-long rope attached to the side of his shed that he intended to use for the challenge. . . until the rope snapped during a testing session.

Kenny was climbing the rope at the time and fell four metres to the ground but was not badly hurt.

He then contacted a friend who came to his house and built an eight-metre-high scaffolding structure in his garden specially for the challenge.

Every time he landed on solid ground, he would record his run to make sure he completed the 1,106 journeys needed to reach the required distance: 553 times up and 553 times down.

While the journey down was a simple abseil, Kenny, who used to be on the British bobsleigh team and competed in strongman events, had to pull himself to the top.

Kenny, who is originally from Shetland and is dad to seven-year-old Hugo, was a Royal Marine for 10 years.

He now works for Viridor as a mechanical fitter at the Dunbar energy recovery facility.

He said: “I think the Royal Marines helped a little bit. Being part of the Marines is like an exclusive club and I had that prior training.”

He added: “Not sleeping was the hardest bit. When I asked my wife about it she said, ‘You’re not going to do that’.

“She set an alarm every two hours and was checking on me to make sure I was still alive. I made pasta and made sure to keep my food and drink intake up. I had music playing too.

“It was pretty tough, especially the first two hours. I kept thinking ‘what kind of challenge is this going to be’ and wondered how I was going to do it for 48 hours.

“There was added pressure because we had highlighted it on social media.”

Kenny is raising money for the NHS who, he says, are “doing amazing work”, are “risking their lives” and “have never had that [proper] recognition”.

He’s raised almost £4,400 so far.

His mother-in-law Carol Fitzgerald is a retired NHS worker and sister-in-law Karen McQuade works in a coronavirus ward at Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Hearing their stories also inspired him.

It took Kenny two days to fully recover from his challenge, which gave him blisters and cramps in his arms and legs.

He added: “I’m glad I did it but I won’t be doing it again.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kennysimm-climbeverestfor-nhs