WHEN it comes to climbing she is at the top of the tree.

Hampshire's Josephine Hedger is celebrating a hat-trick of successes after being crown International Tree Climbing Champion for the third time.

Swinging more than 80ft up in the air, the 30-year-old from Sway took on the world's best tree climbers and reigned supreme, showcasing her tree surgeon skills in a series of high-speed, high-altitude challenges.

Daily Echo:

Josephine Hedger with her third championship trophy

But three titles aren't enough for Josephine, who is aiming to break the record next year and be the first woman to win four times.

Josephine, who owns Arbor Venture Training, a training school for the forestry and arboricultural industry, first started entering tree climbing competitions six years ago.

This year's International Tree Climbing Championships took place in Milwaukee, in America, and saw Josephine pushed to her physical limits in a series of tests over the weekend.

All challenges tested her tree climbing skills, including speed, accuracy, poise and strength, gaining enough points to get her through to the Masterclass challenge.

Competitors are given free rein to showcase their skills while working on an 82m tall tree, reaching bells placed throughout the branches as quickly as possible.

Josephine's full-time job as a tree surgeon helped to hone those skills, but she said extra training means most evenings and weekends for six months of the year are spent training - often up to 20 hours a week.

Before flying back to the UK last night, she told the Daily Echo: “When I first started in these competitions all I wanted to do was to have the honour of competing with the people I had read about in magazines when I was a student.

“I was inspired by the other competitors and just wanted to get better and better - winning was never my goal.

“So to compete and win, not once but three times, is overwhelming because it is an amazing achievement.

“I will definitely be back next year to see if I can be the first to win four titles but each year it gets tougher so I will have to train very hard.”