10 March 2022

Ben Nevis world record attempt by 10-year-old

Xavier Watts, or Xavi for short, is 10-years old and lives on the south coast of England near Chichester. His dad, Sam, says:

“This May, Xavi is attempting to set a new world record by becoming the youngest person to climb and then descend Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain, on a mountain bike.

Over 4,000 feet of vertical descent, steep and rocky terrain, snow and icy conditions, poor visibility and cold temperatures will all conspire to make this the perfect setting for a truly unique and adrenaline-busting mountain bike adventure.

However, we are both experienced on black trails, and there is nothing we love more at weekends than pushing ourselves to the limit on Britain’s best trails.

Xavi grew up on a bike, after first learning to ride at just three years of age. This has since progressed from a hobby to a passion and finally into an obsession!

He started competing in downhill races in 2021, gaining his first podium and numerous top five places against children two to three years older than himself. He loves adventure riding, including a full descent from the 9,000 foot, snow-covered summit of Mount Saulire in the French Alps when he was only eight!

However, all these accomplishments nearly didn’t happen.

When he was one year old, Xavi developed a serious and potentially life-threatening kidney disease.

We found blood in his urine and went to our GP to conduct some kidney tests. We were referred urgently to Chichester Hospital and then rushed to the G4N ward at Southampton Children’s Hospital for specialist care.

He was given less than a 5% chance of not requiring life-saving kidney dialysis or having significant kidney complications, and we were told he would have a long road to recovery.

However, at some point during that ordeal, a miracle kicked in and Xavi’s kidneys began to heal themselves. He was able to leave the hospital just 10 days later with nothing but blood pressure medicine to take.

We know that many children in the ward were not so lucky, and two children with the same condition died during the time Xavi was in hospital.

Now 10 years on, both Xavi and I are committed to undertaking a challenge to say thank you to the amazing staff at Southampton Children’s Hospital who were so instrumental in Xavi’s recovery.

We feel hugely indebted for the truly exceptional work you all do, and so partnered with Southampton Hospitals Charity.”

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