A POOLE adventurer has completed a gruelling four-and-a-half month expedition of the Amazon River, from its distant source in the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil.

Olie Hunter Smart, of Sandbanks, completed the 4,103-mile journey with Australian travel companion Tarran Kent-Hulme.

The pair diced with pirates, extreme conditions, deadly jaguars and crocodiles during their epic trek, which included walking 400 miles before kayaking 3,600 more across South America.

Olie, aged 32, believes he in now officially the first Briton to travel the entire length of the Amazon Rover fully unsupported.

He said: "Walking up and over the gruelling terrain of the Andes Mountains was much harder than I expected.

"We experienced altitude sickness, extreme daytime heat followed by icy cold nights, and vicious dogs - all while carrying 40kg packs.

"But on the flip side we were surrounded by the most beautiful landscape - huge snow capped mountains, vast golden plains of grass, big blue skies and steep valleys that just dropped off into the winding river beneath us. It was incredible."

The expedition, supporting the charities Duchenne Children's Trust and Limited Resource Teacher Training, started on June 20 at the headwaters of the Rio Mantaro, 12,000ft up in the Peruvian Andes. It ended on October 29.

During one stage of their journey the pair travelled through the notorious Red Zone, a tribal-governed area of Peru where much of the world's cocaine is produced.

Their guide deserted them after just seven days on this stretch, which also saw them being shot at by pirates.

The Peruvian Marines later shadowed the adventurers having heard about their experiences.

One of the scariest moments for Olie was when he was stung. "I was in the water so didn't see what it was but my entire leg went numb.

"We were over 24-hours away from any help so had to call a doctor in the UK to determine how serious it was. It was terrifying not knowing."

After 38 days of walking and 93 days paddling, the pair made the final 24-hour push to reach the Atlantic Ocean, paddling through the night.

Olie said: "I've returned to the UK with so many stories, memories and photos.

"I hope to be able to share these, inspiring others to be a little more adventurous and step out of their comfort zone.

"There's a world out there waiting to be discovered but you've got to take that first leap."

Visit amazonriverrun.com to find out more about the expedition and the supported charities.