Your future is not defined by your past.. The best adventure is the one that you take… start now
Richard Harpham on life motto.
Richard Harpham is an award winning adventurer who has completed over 8,000 miles of expeditions by canoe, kayak, SUP, bike and on foot. His adventures include canoeing the Yukon River, sea kayaking from Vancouver to Alaska, cycling and kayaking from London to Marrakech and cycling the Sahara.
Richard is also a serial entrepreneur who also runs a canoe, kayak and adventurous activities business with his wife Ashley called canoetrail.co.uk. Richard has an MBA from Cranfield University and was the manager of the Ghana Ski Team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 aka Cool Runnings 2.
Following the Olympics Richard co-founded the social enterprise inspiredlife.org to inspire young people and communities. The team have engaged over 26,000 young people with inspirational role models, outdoor learning and experiential programmes and won national recognition on several occasions.
Richard Harpham has been part of the BAM family since the early days and Dave has joined him on some of his adventures. It is not an exaggeration to say that Richard pretty much wares Bamboo clothing everyday. He likes it so much he got the T-shirts!
We interviewed Richard to find out more:
Do you have a Life motto or mantra that you live by?
Your future is not defined by your past.
What bothers you?
I get to witness the best and the worst of the environment so how we treat the planet is really important. In particular plastics and rubbish in our rivers and coastline since this ultimately becomes the gyres so many talk about.
The big dream?
More adventures. Ski and trek 500 miles through the Mackensie Mountain Range in Canada which is one of the last wilderness areas on the planet and damn cold. We interviewed Alex Van Bibber who made the same trip in 1943 and tested BAM kit in snow caves and tents in -30 below last year.
What charities and causes do you most connect with?
After the Ghana Ski Team Experience at the Winter Olympics I co founded an organisation called www.inspiredlife.org to help inspire young people and communities. We provide life skills and help offer an alternative curriculumn with inspirational role models and award winning programmes.
If you were Prime Minister what things would you change?
Bonus culture – you should actually have to do something over and above the norm to achieve one and not to the scale of a small countries GDP. Education – More emphasis on life skills preparing young people for the world today not as it used to be. We need to develop characteristics and skills that are useful and transferable. Encourage people to spend more time in the outdoors, the TV and concrete places jungles will still be there when you get back to help encourage people to look after the planet and life a balanced life.
As a time traveller where would you pick, what era and to see who?
I have spent so much time in Alasaka and the Yukon Territories I would love to either be there during the gold rush 1898 (the old lucky strike of gold would be good!)
What’s your worst joke ever?
Whats the similarity between Henry the Eighth and Winnie the Pooh?? Same Middle Name!
Wait there’s more!
Dr Dr, I keep thinking I am a wigwam and a Tepee! Calm down you are two tents!
If you had not followed the path you are on what would you have done instead?
I have been lucky enough to have played and followed rugby around the world in NZ, SA, USA and other random locations on a strictly amateur basis but with some great teams. I always dreamed of playing professionally and more importantly for Scotland.
Running a Windsurfing Shop
Phobias or fears?
Missing out on something
What would you cook as your signature dish?
Thai Green Curry – first met my wife and was so smitten I didn’t notice how much curry paste – nearly blew our heads off!
Project 24 is a series of 24 hour human powered micro adventures on foot, paddling, and cycling to challenge ourselves and our potential. Project 24 is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Ashley Kenlock and Richard Harpham to provide an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors with regular adventures. We hope it is aspirational to encourage others to participate and challenge themselves and ask big questions. Richard Harpham is a professional adventurer who has completed over 7,600 miles of adventures around the world. Our family and friends will hopefully also join us on different challenges for encouragement, fun times and to share the experience. You can follow Project 24 as we tackle some of Britain’s most iconic locations at richadventure.com.
24 Walk on the Pennine Way
Our first 24 hour challenge was walking for 24 hours on the beautiful Pennine Way, in Winter with deep snow and blizzards. What could possibly go wrong? We started near Malham Cove and headed North along the trail. We battled with two white out blizzards and up to 2 ft of snow in freezing temperatures. Strangely it forged our resolve to finish despite the conditions. We took hourly pictures, including dinner in a phone box, deep snowdrifts, sunrise and the obligatory Pennines in the dark. We introduced a reward strategy with sweeties, whisky, chocolate, fish and chips and other treats to keep us motivated. Our last reward was big eats to celebrate finishing at the Tan Hill Inn, the highest Inn in the UK.
24 Hours Canoeing on the River Great Ouse
Our second adventure was canoeing the River Great Ouse, upstream of Buckingham down towards Bedford. Despite being the 5th largest river in Britain 50% of it does not have access rights. (we can only access 3% of the rivers and water in England and Wales) The Canoe challenge was in the close fishing season.
We set off close to mid day and paddled down to Buckingham with its old stone bridges. Since the river is not widely accessed it also means portages and obstacles are not easy to traverse. We shot various weirs, dragged boats in shallows and carried around many obstacles. It was tough going. Once darkness descends it becomes a different mental challenge and a couple of the team nodded off in their boats. Hot food delivered by our support team twice during the challenge really boosted morale. We finished just North of Bedford having been hammered by storm force winds for the final few miles with gusts estimated over 30mph.
Your Project 24?
Project 24 hinges on a strong personal and team challenge based around what is possible within a 24 hour period? How far could you walk, or canoe, or run within 24 hours? You can set your own challenge, or as part of a team, hopefully raising a few quid for charity. We are not full time athletes nor do we have endless hours for training so it is about a “can do” spirit and getting out there.
We hope that you will be inspired complete your own 24 hour challenge. We would love to hear from you with details of your challenge or adventure. What did you do? What charity did you support? (contact us @ www.richadventure.com)
We believe that “The best adventure is the one that you take…start now and of course stay safe!”
Rich and Ash
Richard is a human powered adventurer and paddler richadventure.com who has completed over 7,800 miles of adventures by kayak, canoe, ski and bike. He runs canoetrail.co.uk with his wife and co founded inspiredlife.org which inspires young people and communities. He is a motivational speaker drawing on his stories from adventure, in corporate life and managing the Ghana Ski Team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Richard’s adventures test equipment in the harshest conditions and he is proud to be supported by: Paramo Clothing,, Valley Sea Kayaks, bambooclothing.co.uk ,Leatherman tools, Scott Skis, Mountain Fuels, Canadian Affair (airlines), Aquabound Paddles, Reed Chillcheater, Surly Fat Bikes, USE Exposure Lights, Garmin GPS systems, Sealine Drybags.