North Wales explorer Ash Dykes inspires students at Dulwich College

Fresh from his latest world-record-setting adventure, trekking the entire Yangtze River, three-times world first record holder and explorer Ash Dykes is finding himself in high demand on the lecture circuit.  Ash Dykes from St. Asaph recently shared his adventures with a theatre full of DCB students at Dulwich College International’s annual Shackleton Lecture.

Ash had plenty of stories and anecdotes to share, often drawing ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ from the packed hall, having trekked 1,500 miles across Mongolia alone confronting the elements whilst pulling an 18-stone homemade trailer full of supplies, traversed Madagascar’s length of 1,600 miles whilst facing crocodile-infested rivers, bandits, and the deadliest strain of Malaria and then only this year walking all 4,000 miles of the Yangtze River starting at an altitude of 5,100 metres, then tackling treacherous cliffs and avoiding ferocious animals along the way.

This latest adventure, which Ash only completed last month, proved his biggest challenge yet, with many of his camera crew falling by the wayside, having to be evacuated or choosing to leave due to the hazardous conditions.

However, not all Ash’s stories were of hazards and dangers.  Ash’s journeys have been about being inspired by different cultures, working with various conservation, environmental and humanitarian organisations, and giving back to the communities. His latest trek has seen him become an ambassador for the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) – it’s one heck of a story, and a unique series of experiences he can share.

Ash summed up his latest journey in a recent blog post, which perfectly illustrates how he has balanced learning about people and culture while tackling the physical challenges:

“I’ve been able to share and connect with fans, followers and curious by-passers as I trek through their cities.

“I’ve seen the wild side of China, it’s breathtaking beauty and intimidating terrain, compared with the contrast of urban China, which seems to be forever developing, after all – it is the second biggest economy in the world. < “But this bought a different side again, where I was able to get involved with the urban street dancers, to the city bang bang men, worked as a waiter, chef and I’ve presented in schools and even taken the children litter picking along the mighty river banks.

“I’ve swum across the freezing river with a group of men who do it daily, trekked with a horse over the Tibetan plateau, been pulled in by the police and had to explain what I’m doing (many times) and even humiliated myself many times whilst trying to communicate in Chinese.

“I could and quite literally will be writing a book about all of this, so I better stop there!”

Now home, Ash’s latest goal is to inspire others to achieve their dreams and goals.

Ash talked to the students about the importance of believing in yourself and your goals when naysayers abound. But belief is not enough. He emphasised the value of meticulous planning to achieve a goal and breaking up challenges into small, manageable steps.

Thankfully, you won’t have to trek across China to put his advice into practice – we just wonder what Ash’s next challenge will be!  We’ll be following.