A homegrown athlete beat 200 competitors to win a unique open-water uphill swimming race involving scaling canal lock gates in Glasgow on Saturday.

The Red Bull Neptune Steps race is the only competition of its kind in the world.

Participants swim uphill through 420 metres of cold water and climb 18 metres over eight canal lock gates, helped by rope climbs, wooden ladders, cargo nets and climbing walls.

The gruelling challenge on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Maryhill, Glasgow, attracted an international field of 200 athletes and Scottish open water champion Mark Deans secured the top place in the men's race.


Photo: Red Bull

He said: "It feels awesome, it's all a bit much. I had to push it really hard in the final. It's a truly unique event. I'd go as far as to say it is my favourite, and I'll definitely be back if it returns again."

Team Scotland triathlete Marc Austin took second place and Irish triathlete James Walton was third.

Stirling University triathlete Shannon Bothan won the women's event, ahead of competitors from Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Canada.


Photo: Red Bull

She said: "It was amazing, it feels really good to take the win. I've never competed in anything else like it."

The unusual spectacle attracted 2,600 spectators to the canal banks on Saturday.

Photos and video: Ian Macnicol / Red Bull Content Pool