A YACHTSMAN who braved North Sea storms has returned from his most daunting trip yet - meeting Prince Philip.

Gary Young, from Ouston, near Chester-le-Street, has completed the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award and was presented with his certificate in a ceremony at St James's Palace in London.

The 21-year-old told the Duke about his hair-raising trip from Kiel in Germany to Newcastle in a 30ft yacht for the expedition section of the award, which included battling against a lightning storm.

He said: "The Duke asked if anyone had done anything out of the ordinary for the expedition section and I told him about the storm.

"I had to reduce the sail area very quickly as the storm rose suddenly.

"Prince Philip asked if I had tied myself to the mast like Odysseus but the mast was metal and I didn't feel I wanted to stay near it too long."

He worked through his award with Lumley Community Centre's Duke of Edinburgh's Award Group linked to Durham County Council's Education in the Community service.

After completing his degree at Northumbria University, Gary is preparing to travel to India next month.

On his return, hopes to guide others through their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.