Forty three-year-old Gary Winterson from Stockport yesterday reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain having decided some two months previously to shun all navigational aids and instead trust his instincts on the short drive from the family home to nearby theme park Alton Towers. Mr Winterson, who set off on 10 August and was joined on the expedition by his wife and two children, is believed to be the first to complete the notoriously difficult ascent in Bermuda shorts and a 1.8 litre family saloon.
‘Of course I knew where we were going,’ insisted a proud Mr Winterson today from the Everest base camp. ‘Sure, we could have gone A6, A523, but that’s what everyone does and we’d have only sat in traffic all morning. But by going A6, M1 and then signs for Dover, followed by Europe, Africa and Asia, we dodged the hold ups and got to see a bit of the countryside on the way. Isn’t that right kids?’ he added, flashing a thumbs-up and a wink to his children as they received treatment for hypothermia.
The Everest trip is only the latest in a long line of daring adventures undertaken by the Wintersons. After securing tickets for Wimbledon one year, the family instead opted to catch the end of the men’s singles final on TV through a Dixons shop window in Luton after Mr Winterson’s firm insistence that there must be a parking space closer to the venue proved to be optimistic. And to this day his children still have fond memories of the night they camped at a bus stop as their father adamantly assured them that each passing minute only increased the certainty of a bus coming along shortly.
However Sandra Winterson, who confirmed that her husband had never got on with ‘smug, know-it-all SatNavs’, today admitted that she wasn’t always certain he was entirely sure of his bearings. ’I began to wonder if things may have gone awry when, after six hours driving, he suggested that it’d probably be quicker by sea. But when we left Croatia and he told the kids that the benefit of a planet like ours is that if you travel far enough in the same direction you’ll eventually end up where you started, I knew we really were in trouble.’
Yet at today’s triumphant press conference, there was no one questioning Mr Winterson’s credentials as an expedition leader. ‘This is a great achievement,’ he declared to those assembled, ‘but in many ways it’s only the beginning.’ And as the family set off on the next leg of their epic day trip, all the male reporters proudly noted Mr Winterson’s talent for multi-tasking as he shouted at his passengers to shut the hell up and let him concentrate while confidently heading off in the wrong direction.