Our Year of Adventure dream team
They would argue that anyone can do what they do. That may be true, but there’s no doubt they are an elite bunch. They take themselves to extraordinary places both in mind and body. They step a long way outside the average comfort zone and push themselves to discover new places and set new records. What do they have in common? A deep felt love and connection to Wales. They believe Wales is an adventure playground waiting to be explored. They believe in ‘life long’ adventure for all ages and abilities. And they believe that this year Wales will firmly position itself as the UK’s top adventure destination. We’re delighted to have them on board.
Bear Grylls - Adventure ambassador by beargrylls.com
Adventurer, former British Special Forces soldier and the youngest ever Chief Scout, he’s the definitive action man. Hit TV shows like Man vs Wild, Born Survivor and Running Wild have made him an international adventure icon and he’s written more than 15 action-packed books, including his best-selling autobiography Blood, Sweat and Tears. Globetrotting Bear knows where the action is: ‘Wales is where the adventure starts in 2016,’ he says.
Lowri Morgan - Adventure ambassador by lowrimorgan.com
She’s a BAFTA- winning television presenter and producer, an Elite Ultra endurance marathon runner and world adventurer. One of only six people to complete the 350-mile (563km) endurance 6633 Ultra footrace in the Arctic, she also ran the 140-mile (225km) Jungle Marathon alongside the Amazon. ‘Wherever I travel, people are increasingly aware of the opportunities we have here in Wales for adventure,’ she says. ‘Everything you need is right on your doorstep, you can be swimming in the sea in the morning and running a mountain in the afternoon.’
Maria Leijerstam - Adventure ambassador by whiteicecycle.com
Born in Aberdare, Maria is the first person to cycle to the South Pole – a freezing 396-mile (638km) journey along an ice road from the Antarctic coast. She’s also run across the Sahara desert and cycled across the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia. Wales has been a training hub for her international expeditions. ‘I have travelled the world and worked in many countries but there is something that always draws me home to Wales,’ she says.
Richard Parks - Adventure ambassador by richardparks.co.uk
A former Wales international rugby player turned extreme environment athlete, Richard now takes on incredible expeditions and challenges. He was the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents and stand on all three poles (the North Pole, the South Pole and the summit of Everest) within seven months. ‘Anytime we choose to step outside of the parameters of our normal life is an opportunity for us to be more active, grow and learn more about the world that we live in,’ he says.
Tori James - Adventure ambassador by torijames.com
Pembrokeshire-born Tori was the first Welsh woman to climb Everest, a feat documented in the BBC’s On Top of the World. She’s also completed an unsupported cycle trip across New Zealand and been part of the first all-female team to complete The Polar Challenge, a gruelling 360-mile (579km) race to the magnetic North Pole. ‘The Year of Adventure in Wales presents a brilliant opportunity to venture outdoors and try new things,’ she says. ‘You’re never too old or too young to start exploring Wales.’