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Meet Our ‘Pitch Tent: Pioneering Adventure’ Finalists

Presented by our partners, Adventure Uncovered, and brand new for 2022, the ‘Pitch Tent: Pioneering Adventure’ category offers non-profit organisations and explorers the opportunity to pitch an adventure with purpose, to gain financial backing or logistical support from a room full of potential sponsors and investors.

From microadventure mavericks to exploration enthusiasts, we caught up with our chosen finalists ahead of pitching their adventures at this year’s Summit to dig a little deeper into their inspirational adventure ideas.

Olly Hicks

Adventure: Row around the World

1. Tell us a bit about yourself….

I live in Exmoor, with 1 wife, 2 sons and an errant dog. Ever since I was 12 I wanted to row alone across the Atlantic. I eventuality did that when I was 23. Ever since I rowed across the Atlantic all I wanted to do was row around the world…. I tried in 2010. It didn’t work out. I must try again. I will go again in 2025. 

2.  What inspired you to choose your adventure idea?

See above…! A growing obsession, seeded when my dad cut an article out of ‘The Times’ for me about a man called Peter Bird who had been lost rowing across the Pacific Ocean in 1996. An unusual inspiration perhaps – but that was the beginning of a lifetime infatuation with ocean adventure. Often under oar or paddle. 

What enthrals me most is striving to accomplish the unaccomplished. The jeopardy is irresistibly compelling. 

3. What’s been your most exciting/memorable adventure to date so far?

Virgin Row, rowing across the Atlantic Solo in 124 days from NYC – Falmouth. Because it was my first mega one and it worked so well – and I LOVED it. No complaints about blisters here… !

Shetland Bus Expedition – for the fear…. Terrifying kayak crossing from Shetland – Norway… 

4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Forestry, bonfire building, messing about in, on or under the water. 

5. Other than pitching on stage, what are you most looking forward to at the Blue Earth Summit?

Meeting a load of other cool loons – fired up by adventure and trying to unlock the future of the blue economy. No mean feat but I love the concept of trying to do it by bringing in fun, adventure, and business into one bigtop…. Genius.  

Mairead Cahill

Adventure: Cross the UK on foot, bicycle and train to highlight powerful, nature-based solutions.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself….

I’m an entrepreneur and storyteller based in London, focusing on how we can step into a better connection with ourselves, each other and the natural world. For me, connection is at the heart of how we create positive impact.

I set up ‘The Greenhouse’ to work with mission-aligned leaders and businesses to create, scale and communicate nature positive and regenerative impact. It’s not enough anymore for a business to not be doing harm. The question is, what is your superpower as a force for good and how can you best deliver tangible positive impact for people and our natural ecosystems? On the media side, I work as a columnist and presenter on pioneering brands, nature and climate impact.

2.  What inspired you to choose your adventure idea?

My passion and belief that we have an exciting opportunity in the UK to work with nature to create positive impact for people and the planet. I’m proposing to chart a low-carbon adventure across the UK to spotlight the most powerful nature-based solutions on land and sea; from blue carbon projects along our coastlines, restoration of the Celtic Rainforest, protection of Welsh peatlands and regenerative agriculture to sustainably growing our food. I plan to engage in each experience – sowing, foraging, climbing and wading to spotlight the projects and people driving positive change and plan to share my adventures through a visual podcast and media so others can join the journey.

At BES I am looking for sustainable brands to come on board as sponsors and be part of driving awareness for UK nature-based solutions and female-led adventure and entrepreneurship.

3. What’s been your most exciting/memorable adventure to date so far?

A couple of years ago before lockdown, myself and some friends embarked on a ‘green’ weekend along the Jurassic Coast, where we covered 150km of world heritage coastline along Devon and Cornwall. We travelled by foot and boat and spotlighted local growers, makers and conservationists along the way, making a short documentary featured by UNESCO UK to raise environmental awareness and eco-tourism.

4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m lucky to live near Hampstead Heath and start each day there with my dog, Monroe. Spending time in nature is where I get a lot of my inspiration and energy. I also really enjoy the challenge of wilder adventures on land or sea with friends, where I get to be fully immersed and away from my laptop and phone. Cooking and bringing friends together for dinners, live music and dancing brings me a lot of joy.

5. Other than pitching on stage, what are you most looking forward to at the Blue Earth Summit?

I’m really looking forward to connecting with other people and the Blue Earth community that all have a shared passion for nature, adventure and positive impact, that feels really inspiring to me. I love learning and hearing about what others are doing and seeing how we might collaborate, or just have fun together. I’m also looking forward to connecting with brands that want to be part of pioneering impact with our green and blue spaces!

Felix Daglish

Adventure: Quadriplegic solo cycling Dorset to the Orkney Islands.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself….

My name’s Felix, I’m 20 years old and I study Philosophy and Theology at the University of St Andrews. My love for adventuring was really sparked by my Dad. When I was young, he set up a charity called ‘Walking With The Wounded’ – to help rehabilitate wounded servicemen and women back into society after injury from service. Seeing physically disabled people do incredible adventures like walking to the north pole really inspired me to believe I could do the same things, and started me off on this journey of adventure.

2.  What inspired you to choose your adventure idea?

There were a lot of inspirations for my adventure. One of the main ones was my love for nature. The adventure I did before this was rowing the Irish sea, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life – but unfortunately we were trapped in a storm for the whole duration and thus unable to really appreciate the beauty of the sea!

I wanted to do an adventure this time around that was not only physically challenging, but also beautiful. I love the countryside of the UK, so am hoping this will enable me to really soak more of it in.

3. What’s been your most exciting/memorable adventure to date so far?

I would say my most memorable adventure was doing my row. It was my first ever adventure, and it was my first experience of feeling well and truly outside of my comfort zone. I remember when we first got out of sight of land, all around you is this seemingly boundless mass of water. Given that we had no support boat, you feel well and truly alone, except for my teammates.

I think that initial adventure breaks your shell. You can’t really imagine or simulate it fully in training and it was really interesting seeing my mind exist in places I didn’t even know existed!

4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time I love to make music and write poetry. I find that music allows you to have a one-on-one conversation with yourself that isn’t limited by language, it gives you the ability to process not yet fully formed emotion and is a great way for me to just feel more comfortable in my own skin. Poetry is for much the same reason, apart from that I absolutely love the gym – as you’d probably guess haha and I probably spend way too much time hanging out with friends haha.

5. Other than pitching on stage, what are you most looking forward to at the Blue Earth Summit?

What I’m most excited for outside of pitching on stage is inspiration. I absolutely love people and a large part of why I am who I am today is because of the inspiration that people I’ve personally known, or people I look up to have given me. Particularly with being in a wheelchair I’m really excited to represent physical disability in an adventuring space and hopefully inspire others like me. Disabled people in the public space is a rarity and I know how much it would have met to me as a kid if I saw someone like me living out my dreams.

Russ Cook

Adventure: Run across Africa, North to South. 360 marathons over 16 countries in just 240 days.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself….

I’m Russ Cook, 25, from Worthing, West Sussex. I’m an endurance athlete and an adventure leader at The Running Charity. My most notable achievements are becoming the first person to run from Asia to London. Breaking the world record for the fastest marathon pulling a car and being buried alive for a week with nothing but water.

2.  What inspired you to choose your adventure idea?

I was inspired to become the first person to run the full length of Africa for multiple reasons. One being that it’s never been done, and the opportunity to push the limits by going where no one has gone before is attractive for multiple reasons.

I also look back to my younger days as a lost kid lacking direction, guidance and purpose. That feeling of being trapped and suffocated inspired a change in me to really start living. We all end up in the ground at some point, so I might aswell have a tear up whilst I’m here!

I’m inspired to live a meaningful and fulfilling life and share what I learn through the process to create an impact for others that supports them to undertake their own journeys, whatever that may be!

3. What’s been your most exciting/memorable adventure to date so far?

My most memorable adventure so far was running from Asia to London, I ran a total of 71 marathons in 66 days through 11 different countries. 0 rest days, 0 support team.

I experienced it all from fighting off wild animals, to the pure kindness of strangers, I slept in abandoned buildings, graveyards, people’s homes I just met, forests. I got injured, I ran out food, got lost, but all of those experiences shaped me into a more capable human being, and I wouldn’t change any of them for the world.

4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Free time? Not sure what that is sorry! Only joking, in my free time I love to roll around in mud and occasionally drink absolutely no more than 3 pints with a few mates. Fine, 4 max.

5. Other than pitching on stage, what are you most looking forward to at the Blue Earth Summit?

I’m really excited to share some stories with some fellow adventurers and connect with some like minded people. Can’t wait!

Catch the ‘Pitch Tent: Adventure Uncovered’ on Tuesday 11th October at the Blue Earth Summit. Book tickets now to secure your place amongst the action.

You can also catch the Adventure Uncovered Film Festival on Wednesday 12th October for more inspirational adventures.

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