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Meet the speakers

We've gathered dozens of renowned explorers, photographers, writers and chefs to inspire our Festival-goers. On the main stage: Adventurer Benedict Allen, Countryfile's Julia Bradbury and veteran explorer Paul Rose

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 Julia Bradbury

Julia Bradbury

Renowned for programmes such as BBC’s Countryfile, Julia Bradbury is someone we all recognise from the small screen. Her walking documentaries have taken her from South Africa to Iceland, as well as the length and breadth of the UK. Her most recent work, Britain’s Best Walks on ITV, has led her to co-found The Outdoor Guide, an online resource for outdoor enthusiasts. She is proud to be the first female President of The Camping and Caravanning Club and the first Celebrity Ambassador for Ramblers Walking Holidays.

Find out more on her website or follow her on Twitter

Paul Rose

Paul Rose

A man at the front line of exploration, and one of the world’s most experienced science expedition leaders, BBC’s Inside Out presenter Paul Rose knows the challenges — and beauty — of the polar regions like no one else. Paul has led Greenland ice cap crossings and ascents of previously unclimbed icy mountains. He even has a peak named after him in Antarctica.

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter

Benedict Allen

One of Britain’s great explorers, Benedict Allen’s most recent work saw him return to Papua New Guinea to find the remote Niowra people — a community he last saw three decades ago — for BBC Two’s Birds of Paradise: The Ultimate Quest (2017). He’s famed for his treacherous and self-documented exploits, broadcast across six BBC series, and is the bestselling author of books such as Into the Abyss.

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter.

Alan Hinkes

Alan Hinkes OBE

Alan Hinkes is the first Briton to climb all of the world’s highest mountains.  These are the 14 8000m peaks, all of which are in the ‘death zone’, where human survival rate is measured in hours. They are, without question, the most dangerous mountains on the planet. Alan is part of an exclusive club of only 12 people alive who have achieved this feat, which is the same number of people who have stood on the moon. Many have perished attempting this challenge. He is an accomplished cameraman (filming 11 documentaries), photographer, author, motivational speaker, environmentalist and mountain guide. His book 8000 Metres Climbing the World’s Highest Mountains won TGO Awards Outdoor Book of the Year. Alan was awarded the OBE in the 2006 New Year’s Honours, and has been showered with honorary doctorates and prizes — in particular for his work with charity Water Aid. He is also involved in charitable work with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, British Red Cross and Mountain Rescue. Alan lives in North Yorkshire and enjoys being in the hills, rock climbing and fellwalking. You will regularly see him in the Lake District and Yorkshire tramping the fells and moors, clinging to a rock face or climbing a frozen waterfall.

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter.

Catherine Grey

Catherine Gray

Catherine Gray manages Freedom Treks, a cycling holiday company specialising in leisurely guided and self-guided European tours. Catherine started her life in travel 18 years ago specialising as an Austrian Product Manager in Ski and Lakes & Mountains before combining her love of travel and cycling. She believes there is no better way to explore Europe than from the comfort of your saddle allowing plenty of time to still experience the cultural sights and sample the local food and wine. Favourite cycling trips have been island hopping in Croatia, cycling from the mountains to the coast in Slovenia and exploring the “heel” of Italy. Motherhood hasn’t meant an end to cycling as she introduced her son to cycling on the front of her bike at 11 months. Already at the age of two, he has enjoyed cycle touring through Normandy, Bavaria and though the Swedish archipelago and they have many more family cycle trips planned. 

Find out more on her website or follow her on Twitter

Daniel Raven-Ellison

Daniel Raven-Ellison

Daniel Raven-Ellison is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Guerrilla Geographer, and is leading the campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City. Fascinated by psychogeography and alternative ways of getting around, last year Daniel walked 1,686km across all of the UK’s 15 national parks and 69 cities while wearing a headset that recorded his emotions. To celebrate National Geographic’s 125th anniversary Daniel completed 125 British microadventures with his son. A creative adventurer, Daniel loves exploring London and as well as traversing the city many times, for one project he walked the height of Mount Everest over 10 days by using hundreds of the capital’s buildings. 

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter.

Jim McNeill

Jim McNeill

Jim McNeill is one of the world’s most experienced and respected explorers. He has spent large portions of his life in extreme environments for over 30 years and his knowledge and practical know-how has been enlisted by TV and film crews for productions including Frozen Planet, Human Planet and Natural World — even Hollywood blockbusters such as Captain America. In 2001, he founded the highly successful Ice Warrior Project, emulating the heroic era of exploration and taking complete novices through to competent and accomplished modern-day explorers. His next flagship expedition in 2017 is to the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility (follow this on Twitter using #lastpole), which stands as the last true World First in polar expeditioning and what has been described as a “crucial piece of citizen science”. 

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter

Tim Taylor

Tim is a professional fine art photographer and adventurer, inspired by the beauty of extreme environments and the wild places of our planet. His work takes the form of large format, fine art photographs, multi-media installations and photographic essays. Tim works at the intersection between art and science, collaborating with scientists on research and conservation projects using photographic techniques. Recent research and mountaineering expeditions have taken him from the 8000m peaks of the Himalayas and the remote glaciers of Northern Pakistan to the wilds of Patagonia and Alaska. Tim has recently returned from a successful summit of Denali — the highest mountain in North America. His award-winning photographic work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo shows, and his fine art prints are held in private and corporate art collections.

Find out more on his website or follow him on Facebook.

George Bullard

George Bullard

At the age of 19 George broke the world record for the longest fully unsupported polar journey. Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes called the staggering 1,374 mile crossing as “genuinely groundbreaking”. George has gone on to guide extraordinary expeditions to the four corners of the earth, leading youth development programmes in the Amazon and scientific research in Antarctica. George has joined IGO Adventures and is passionate about imparting his experiences on IGO to offer life changing expedition challenges in beautiful wild places on our planet to those who only have a week to spare.

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter

Jonathan Phang

Jonathan Phang

Jonathan Phang grew up in a hectic Chinese-Caribbean household in London that was always packed with waifs and strays as well as the wonderful, rich smells of the next delicious meal. After a career in fashion (he managed models Jerry Hall, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, among others), he returned to his passion for food, hosting Jonathan Phang’s Caribbean Cookbook for Food Network UK, which explored the melting pot of cultures that form Caribbean cuisine, and publishing The Pepperpot Club (2013) cookbook. More recently, Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Trains (2015), for the Travel Channel, saw him jump aboard some of the world’s most iconic trains in a mouthwatering journey across the globe. Jonathan’s all about the journey: as he proves, “it can be even better to travel than to arrive.”

Find out more on his website or follow him on Twitter

Dr Rachel Thomas

Our mindfulness guru — leading workshops throughout the day — studied Medicine at Oxford University, building upon her earlier degrees in Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at Sydney University, and at Berkeley, California. She is currently completing a Masters degree in the neuroscience and psychology of mental health in Kings College, London. An award-winning author of two books and numerous articles, she is the British Medical Association’s Young Author of the Year. She is particularly interested in optimising mental health and wellness, helping people to deal with the stresses of modern life, including from technology and travel. Dr Rachel Thomas grew up in Sydney, travelling extensively as an international model before this career moved her to London, where she now calls home.

Find out more on her website or follow her on Instagram for daily wellness tips.

 

Tickets

All tickets are non-refundable. Once the full programme of events has been finalised you will receive an email with instructions on how to book on to individual sessions and talks taking place throughout the day. Your ticket includes access to all sessions and talks (subject to availability)..