I recently announced the winners of The Next Challenge Expedition Grant. Below are some introductions to them all.
I love the broad spectrum of people we have:
- They range from 14 to 48
- They hail from England to Australia, China to Scotland
- They are students and teachers, marine conservationists and forest engineers
- Their trips will last one day, one week, one year
- Some will cost hundreds of pounds and some thousands. Others will have change from £80
- They will walk, cycle, run, swim, paddle, camp and bivouac
- They will do their adventures by taking a week off work, quitting their jobs, waiting for the weekend or just squeezing them in at the end of day
- The expeditions will happen in Europe and Asia, Australia and North America
- Some will blog, Tweet, Instagram and Facebook their travels. Some will probably just tell their mates about it down the pub
And perhaps best of all, every single one of them will be helped on their way by strangers donating a couple of quid.
Here are your winners, folks…
1. George Kefford and Jaxson – Crossing Stradbroke Island
These guys will be taking a boat out to a small desert island off the coast of Australia to complete a world first crossing on foot.
Starts: December 2015
George and Jaxson say:
We are honoured to receive this grant and can’t wait to get going.”
2. Richard Fairbrother – Great Wall Winter Walk
Age 42, Australian living in Beijing, China.
There’s a particularly remote stretch of the Great Wall of China which is seldom walked and yet to be restored. Richard will be making his second attempt to walk it this winter, solo and unsupported. He thinks it should take four days.
Starts: January 2016
Thank you! The Next Challenge Grant is a great idea and I am very happy to be selected amongst such a great group of new adventurers”
3. Michael Bartley – Alp d’Huez on a Fixed Gear Bike
Age 20, from Halifax, Law student at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Works part time for St Oswald Hospice charity.
Alp d’Huez is a classic Alpine climb, frequented by the Tour de France. Michael will be attempting to climb it on a fixed gear bicycle
five eight times in a row which will take him to the height of Mount Everest.
Starts: January 2016
I was over the moon when I found out that I had won the grant, having never won anything this exciting in my life!”
4. Ben Smith & Judith Pope – Pakrafting the Caledonian Canal
Ben: age 36, from Dorset, wanderer, writer and touring cyclist. Judith: age 34, from Bristol, simplifying life and getting outside more.
These two will be using an inflatable ‘pakraft’ boat to paddle the length of the Caledonian Canal across Scotland.
Starts: May 2016
Wooooo hoooo! We’re really looking forward to the challenge of exploring a new (to us) part of the world powered by our arms next year. Your support means so much.”
5. Katie Tunn – A Month on an Uninhabited Island
Age 30, artist and marine conservationist.
Katie’s plan is to live alone on a remote, Scottish island for a month without human contact, electricity or any other modern trappings.
Starts: March/April 2016
Wow, I’m totally chuffed to learn that I’ve been chosen for a Next Challenge grant! Aside from the financial boost, the backing of Tim and his team with their knowledge and experience is a fantastic bonus in turning this little adventure into reality. Thank you!”
6. Robinson Ellin – 48 Hour Cycle Holland
Age 40, from London now living in Hertfordshire, teacher (“This feels slightly like a dating website!” – Robinson)
Robinson’s going to try cycling to the Anne Frank Museum in Holland and back in a 48 hour period. He wants to open his students’ eyes to prejudice, make his son proud and prove, at 40, that he can still.
Starts: early 2016
Wow! Thank you so much! I’m extremely happy and excited to accept!
7. Abbie Barnes – Walking all the National Trails
Abbie will be trying to finish walking the length of every National Trail in the UK before she starts university next year.
Started: before the grant still has 10 trails left and over 1,000 miles before July.
Thank you so much for this opportunity and for your generosity. I am so grateful to you and all of the other donors to the grant. £200 will sure go a long way to helping my mission become a reality; I’m just itching to get back on the trail!”
8. Sebastian Schweizer – Swimming the Gulf of Orosei
Age 48,born in Switzerland but lived Florence since he was seven. Sebastian is a freelance forest engineer specialising in fresh water ecology and Geographical Infromation Systems (GIS). He’s also in the process of setting up a new rafting company to take trips in Florence and Tuscany.
With wetsuit, fins and mask, Sebastian will be attempting an unsupported week long swim along the coast of Sardinia. There will be no fresh water supply so he needs an expensive de-salinator. I’m trying to help him source one.
Starts: Spring 2016
Thank you and greetings from Firenze!”
9. Carmen Braun and Alex Tamo – 100 Nights’ Camping
Carmen: age 22, from Alberta, Canada. Alex: age 25, from Canada.
They are both university students in Halifax, Novia Scotia, studying Earth Science & Oceanography and Computer Science, respectively. Carmen works part time as a Teaching Assistant and Alex at Mountain Equipment Co-op. They both volunteer with the Halifax Search & Rescue team
Alex (above) and Carmen (below) will be trying to spend 100 nights sleeping outside over a 12 month period. They needed new boots and KEEN have kindly supported them.
Started: June 2015
I applied on the off-chance and am thrilled that there are people out there who like and support the idea; even when life gets hectic, getting outside is always really fun and definitely worth it!”
10. Elise Downing – Running the Coast of Great Britain
Age 23, from Great Britain, worked as Customer Care Team Leader at a food startup.
Started: last month! Elise has recently started her run around the coast of Great Britain. You can read her first blog post here.
It’s always great to hear that somebody else believes in your idea as much as you and I’m even more excited to start running now.”
I’ll share the stories of each adventure over the coming year as and when they happen. The grant will re-open for applications in 2016.