A RECORD-breaking mountaineer has reached another peak in his celebrated career after being made patron of Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.

The Northallerton-born climber, Alan Hinkes, who lives in Patterdale, replaces the organisation’s founder and veteran climber Hamish MacInnes who died last year aged 90.

“Hamish was an absolute legend so this is an unbelievable honour to replace him as patron,” said Alan.

“Mountain Rescue Search Dogs is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and does an incredible job. I’ve been an ambassador for them for many years and I also help train them by being a ‘dog’s body’, lying in remote locations waiting to be ‘rescued’.

“As a valuable part of search and rescue, dogs play a vital role in finding casualties in any type of terrain and conditions. These dogs are highly trained to locate missing people or casualties efficiently and quickly, which can mean saving a life. I will be doing as much as possible for them and hope that people continue to support their essential work.”

Alan is the first and only Briton to climb through the death zone to reach the world’s 14 highest peaks and at 65 there is little sign of the outdoor expert slowing down.

PICTURED: Mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, who has been made patron of Mountain Rescue Search Dogs

PICTURED: Mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, who has been made patron of Mountain Rescue Search Dogs

Brought up in the shadow of the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales, Alan has been climbing all over the world for more than 50 years and now lives in the Lakes.

After leaving Northallerton Grammar School in North Yorkshire, he trained to be an outdoor education and geography teacher in Newcastle and worked in schools in Cockermouth and Whitehaven, Cumbria, before becoming a member of The Fell & Rock Climbing Club.

When his mountaineering took off with a vengeance it took Alan 27 attempts to conquer all the world’s peaks over 8,000m, including Everest and K2 and every expedition in his eyes was a success – because he came back alive when many of his peers didn’t. Alan also accompanied actor Brian Blessed on his attempt on Everest.

Alan spends as much time as possible in the great outdoors, taking photographs and testing gear for a variety of manufacturers. He has written a book, 8000 Metres Climbing the World's Highest Mountains, published by Cicerone, and gives inspirational talks at corporate and charity events.

He is a qualified mountain guide and is working on a TV series called Mini Mountains with the company Walks Around Britain.