Britain's highest peak has provided one Oxted resident with perfect preparation for the challenge of a lifetime.

Mark Dean, 40, scaled Ben Nevis on a wet and wild Scottish weekend as build-up to the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge continued in earnest.

Dean - head of safety at PAYE Stonework - was reunited with the 30-strong group for a final training weekend before they attempt to break two Guinness World Records by playing at 6,500m altitude. 

Dean reckon the already teak-tight team spirit in the group will help them through the 24-day haul in the Himalayas and, at the very least, help him shed a few pounds. 

"I didn't really fancy being carried off Mount Everest as it might have hurt the people who had to do it," he said.

"I've shed some of the timber and my challenge is to get rid of the last couple of pounds that will make it that much easier.

"Preparations are going quite well - we've come together as a team and have a nice mix of people with a good group feel. 

"My inspiration comes from a fantastic charity in Wooden Spoon. What they do for disabled and disadvantaged kids is second to none.

"The money we raised will do untold good in the UK and give kids opportunities they wouldn't have.

"The biggest challenge on Everest is going to be getting up, day after day, and repeating. We're going to be in close proximity to each other and it's going to get quite tense.

"It will be a war of attrition, just trying to put one foot in front of another again and again."

Since the turn of the year preparations have taken on a new intensity after the group were subjected to rigorous altitude chamber training in Southampton earlier this month. 

The matches will bid to break the record set by the Steve Prescott Foundation at 5,752 metres up Kilimanjaro in 2015.

Each of the 26 challengers has been set a funding target of £10,000, to be used by Wooden Spoon to help young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage in the UK and Ireland.

Teams will be captained by a clutch of rugby stars including Shane Williams, Wales' leading try-scorer, England Women legend Tamara Taylor and 60-cap Test hooker Lee Mears. 

Mears was joined by fellow team captain Ollie Phillips, former IRB Sevens World Player of the Year, in the Ben Nevis mountain range for a weekend of Burns night celebrations and snow climbing skills. 

Dean drew inspiration from the oval-ball feats of the team captains as he negotiated a physical draining weekend in the Grampians. 

"Ollie and Lee are fantastic guys," he said.

"What they haven't done from a leadership capacity isn't worth knowing and it was great to have them with us in Scotland.

"Mearsy leads the jokes and is a good laugh. They're very inspirational in the group and fun people to be around."

Support us in the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge to help change the lives of children and young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland - visit  #everestrugby