A DARING Basingstoke man, who single-handedly rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, is setting his sights on a new Herculean challenge – conquering Mount Everest.

James Ketchell, 29, from Severn Way, in Eastrop, has certainly proved he’s got sea legs. Now he is determined to show he has also got a head for heights as he aims to climb to the top of the Nepalese mountain peak, 8,848 metres above sea level.

He said: “It is going to be tough. I do not have that much climbing experience – but then I didn’t have that much rowing experience before my Atlantic trip.”

The accounts manager has only been home from his lonely sea-faring odyssey a few months. The epic 110-day voyage from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean left him sore, starving and exhausted.

But James said: “I feel a bit lost since I got back and want to move on to my next challenge.

“It is going to be like the Atlantic in many ways – a hard slog which is mentally and physically tough.”

This latest adventure arose after James befriended Rob Casserley, a famous climber, medic and high altitude cameraman in the Canary Islands before setting off.

Dr Casserley, who has scaled the Himalayan mountain four times, will be taking James under his wing on his fifth climb some time next year. But James must first prove himself in September by taking on Mount Blanc in the Alps.

He said: “I feel confident I can do it – I have already learned that if you want something enough, you can get it if you try your best.”

Meanwhile, he has to raise £25,000 in sponsorship, which he hopes to secure from companies.

He added: “I will be placing their logo at the summit of Everest.”