I was born in 1980 in Reading and grew up on the border of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire with my parents and sisters Deborah, Eleanor and Madeleine.
As a youth I always had a connection to the outdoors, completing the Duke of Edinburgh awards and being pretty active in the Air Cadets with various hikes including the 100 mile Nijmegen march.
I studied engineering at Cambridge, where in the main I failed to take advantage of the myriad of activities available, choosing less wisely to invest my student loan into supporting the beer and spirits industries.
However, I did apply for and receive a generous grant for “adventurous travel” and with a friend we headed to the Indian Himalayas to spend several weeks trekking across passes and glaciers, hiring a “guide” who turned out to be a clueless cooks assistant who broke his ribs in the first few days on a river crossing. In the main we remained blissfully unaware of how woefully ill-prepared we were.
The whole experience was one that helped to form my life ethos to some extent, teaching me that the hardest and most important step is making the decision to do something. You work out the “how” over time, and the “what” inevitably evolves, but by then you are on the road and moving and that’s where life begins. Inertia is the enemy of adventure.
At the same time, time has taught me that the difference between success and failure can be luck as often as judgement and its good not to confuse those two. Anyone can roll a six a few times in a row and believe they have a special touch.
Unrelated to our trek, I came back from India in a wheel chair 2-stone lighter with a new travel companion (a host of bacteria – Septicaemia). It was a pretty close call.
Post university I had a short break where I travelled around Iran with Eleanor, including a rapid and memorable scramble up to 5,600m on Mount Damavand.
I then followed the well trodden Oxbridge path into strategy consulting, and with any adventure beyond “all nighters in the office” increasingly unlikely and life energy ebbing away, when Eleanor roped me into the inaugural Yukon Artic challenge and we dragged ourselves and a sled 100 miles starting in Whitehorse Alaska. It was a warm year, the biggest challenge was staying awake after weeks of working 70+ hour weeks without the coffee to which I was somewhat dependent.
I then spent a number of years working in the Foodservice industry at Brakes, a great experience and a great team. The business was sold in 2007 and the opportunity presented to take some time off. Once again I turned back to my core and headed solo to Tajikistan for a ill fated trek in the Fann mountains, followed by hitchhiking through Kyrgyzstan and then flying to join my sister in Afghanistan including a brief and awkward random television appearance.
Post Brakes I spent some time working independently on a series of different projects as a consultant and advisor which allowed a level of flexibility including a revisit in a cold winter to a frosty Ladakh, a tour of the Annapurna circuit, and a taste of winter mountaineering in Scotland with a failed bid on the Matterhorn.
I spent the last 6 years working in the ATM industry ending up as the UK MD then spending a final year on the European business. My main adrenalin has been supplied from a rapid induction to skiing by some experienced friends with some great off piste in steep couloirs and a few days touring which I have to pursue more, it’s a special way to connect with the mountains. I’ve spent more time climbing, mainly bouldering indoors with the occasional outdoor trip with my oldest sister Deborah her husband Will on the beautiful south coast of the UK.
I got married 3 years ago to my beautiful wife Masha, and we had our son Bertrand in July 2017.
I wrapped up work in December 2017, deciding to take the chance for some travel as a family which is where this blog and hopefully many more adventures begin. Life can be spent recounting old stories; its important to keep on producing materials to write new ones.