AFTER his toughest expedition yet, having braved thick jungle, venomous snakes and scorpions, author and adventurer Michael Turner is back in his home town of Burnham - for now at least.

Michael, 57, has spent more than half his life following in the footsteps of arguably Britain's greatest explorer, Sir Francis Drake.

He has written books on Drake's life and adventures in the 16th century, and runs a website called

On Friday, he arrived home after a two-week expedition through the jungles of Panama, the highlight of which was reaching the Cerro Brewster Mountain, from where Drake saw the meeting of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

He told the Weekly News: “It was the most difficult expedition I've ever had.

“I've cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats and hitchhiked to the Sahara desert but this was it.

“It was very difficult underfoot. Sometimes it was slippery, other times it was very rocky.”

Michael, of Rosewood Avenue, met up with an English survival expert living in Panama, Caleb Duckworth, and the pair joined a small group heading deep into the jungle.

He said: “We had to kill an Eyelash viper, which is highly venomous. We were sleeping in our hammocks by a river when it appeared.

“We also had to kill a black scorpion and every morning we had to shake our boots to make sure there weren't any more scorpions.”

Michael's interest in Sir Francis began as a schoolboy, first at St Andrew's Junior School in Burnham, and then King Alfred School in Highbridge.

Since 1980, he has retraced virtually all of the legendary explorer's steps.

For his final quest, he has set his sights on two capes in the warzone of Western Sahara and Cape Horn.