A RETIRED scientist has battled back from cancer to achieve a lifelong dream of scaling a major mountain.

Dr Richard Hutcheon, aged 68, has wanted to climb 5,137-metre Mount Ararat, the highest mountain in Turkey, ever since he first visited the country as a student in 1966.

And after being successfully treated for prostate cancer, which was diagnosed in 2007, he decided that now was the time.

“I’ve wanted to climb it since I saw it and I thought it would be good to show that you can achieve something like this after having had cancer,” said Dr Hutcheon, a runner who still takes part in half-marathons.

After making arrangements through a specialist tour operator, he took part in a four-day trek which reached the summit of the famous mountain.

He said the climbing party set out from Dogubeyazit, the nearest town, and stopped at two camps on the mountain’s slopes. The camps are tent settlements, and horses and mules carry provisions for the climbers. He was in a party of about 10 which included French, Israeli and German visitors. They set out from the upper camp to reach the peak in time for sunrise.

“There’s a well-defined path for much of the trek, but the last 300 metres or so, we were walking in the snowfield and we needed crampons,” he said. “When we reached the top it was bitterly cold and windy, but the views were magnificent.”

“It was really only when we were coming back down that the sense of achievement really began to dawn on me.”

Dr Hutcheon, of Lower Howsell Road, Malvern Link, moved to the town with his wife Irene on 2001 when he took a job at DERA. Since retiring he has started a doctoral degree in astrophysics.