A daredevil former soldier left paralysed after a routine back operation went wrong has defied the odds to climb Pendle Hill, pulling his wheelchair behind him.
Since Kirk Mount (28) completed the gruelling seven-hour challenge, a video of the inspirational and astonishing feat has been viewed online more than 22,000 times and he has been inundated with messages of support from wellwishers around the world.
Although still recovering from the exhausting climb, which Kirk said was mainly done on his hands and knees and with the aid of two walking sticks, the determined ex-Royal Artillery gunner said his mind is already on his next challenge.
And while he set out to inspire others with his “can do” attitude he never expected his video to go viral.
“It’s amazing isn’t it for a small bloke from Burnley?
“It’s been shared across the pond, I’ve had messages from people in Niagra Falls and in New Zealand.
“People see the wheelchair, they don’t really see the person in the wheelchair and they discriminate against it. That’s why I went up Pendle dragging the wheelchair behind me.
“It’s a big part of my life but on the video you see me doing something, not necessarily the wheelchair.”
Off-roading on Pendle Hill, wheelchair cliff diving, horseriding, archery, shooting, swimming, wood trekking and racing over beach sand dunes are just some of the activities he loves to do but Kirk said the decision to climb Pendle, where he was supported by his girlfriend Lisa Holden, was made on the spur of the moment.
“It was a last minute thing. I’ve got it in my head that with each step of my improvement I will start doing more challenging things. We were just talking about Pendle Hill and I said I would get up there. It was more crawling than walking and it was really slippy. I had to keep stopping for a rest.”
After two minutes I was ready to quit and I thought what the hell am I doing. But I carried on and I’m 100% glad I did itKirk
The dad-of-two, who lives in Elizabeth Court, Padiham, joined the Army aged 18 and served until 2012 with 40 Regiment. He underwent an operation to pin cracked vertebrae in summer 2014 but his spinal cord was damaged and he ended up in surgery for 16 hours. He awoke to find he was paralysed from the waist down but Kirk has refused to let the paralysis stop him from doing the things he loves.
He said he hopes his determination will help others in his situation deal with being in a wheelchair.
“It’s not only about my achievements but about helping to inspire others and that’s the emotional thing.
“After two minutes I was ready to quit and I thought what the hell am I doing. But I carried on and I’m 100% glad I did it.
“Whatever challenge I do next will have to be bigger and better but I think it’ll take me two weeks to recover from this one.”