Alan Hinkes is the first Briton to climb 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 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.
Mr Hinkes began his mountaineering career whilst at Northallerton Grammar School, North Yorkshire. He progressed to the Alps with ascents of many difficult mountains, including the notorious North Face of the Eiger, eventually graduating to the Himalaya.
He works as an outdoor equipment technical consultant, writes for magazines and lectures on his exploits. 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.
Mr Hinkes was awarded the OBE in the 2006 New Year's Honours. He is an Honorary Citizen of his home town, Northallerton; Yorkshireman of the Year; an Honorary Fellow of the University of Sunderland; Honorary Doctor of the University of York, Honorary Doctor of Professional Studies, University of Teesside and has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Royal Institute of Navigation and the President’s Award for Outstanding Voluntary Contribution to Water Aid. He is involved in charitable work including : Water Aid, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, British Red Cross and Mountain Rescue.
Mr Hinkes 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.
Dr Anna Keay is the Director of the Landmark Trust, one of Britain’s leading building conservation charities. Since 1965 Landmark has been rescuing endangered historic buildings, carefully restoring them and offering them to all as remarkable holiday accommodation. Anna is a writer, historian, curator and TV presenter; with a special interest in 17th-century British history. Before joining Landmark, Anna was a curator at Historic Royal Palaces and a Properties Presentation Director at English Heritage. Born in the West Highlands of Scotland, Anna was educated at Oban High School in Argyll and Bedales in Hampshire. She read history at Magdalen College, Oxford and completed a PhD at the University of London.
With 15 years experience of living and working in over 60 countries, Natalia Cohen has chosen to follow an unusual and fascinating path. Her broad range of professional experience within the travel industry includes adventure tour leading, operations management, teaching/training, volunteer and project coordination, as well as working within the Super Yacht industry and Eco-lodge management, running a remote Safari lodge in Tanzania. Natalia is no stranger to being outside of her comfort zone and has made an art of embracing and adapting to change. Her understanding of team dynamics, the importance of a positive mindset and the ability to live in the moment led her to become part of the first all-female team to row unsupported across the Pacific Ocean.
Ms Cohen and the crew completed this challenge in January 2016 setting two world records and gaining an international following. This was a journey of just under 9,000 miles from San Francisco, USA to Cairns, Australia in a 29ft ocean rowing boat. The expedition was not only a challenge of extreme conditions and perseverance but also a journey within to better understand the strength of human spirit, the importance of being aligned with your values, developing mental resilience, the diversity within a team and enjoying the journey.
Ms Cohen’s vision is to empower others to reach their potential, push through their self-limiting mental boundaries and meet and overcome the challenges that life throws at them.
While she may have crossed her literal Pacific, we all have our own Pacific to cross.
Having been part of the youngest and fastest team to ever reach the South Pole in 2002, Patrick Woodhead went on to lead the first ever East to West traverse of Antarctica, covering 1850km in a total of 75 days. Outside of the Polar World, he has been on many successful expeditions, summiting unclimbed mountains in Tibet and Kyrgyzstan, kayaking down unchartered rivers in the Amazon and being part of the team to set the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. In 2015, he broke the record for the fastest traverse of Greenland. Patrick is a noted author of a series of adventure books and in 2006 founded White Desert, a luxury travel company which arranges adventure expeditions to the Antarctic with wife Robyn Woodhead. Since its inception, the company has gone from strength to strength and is currently the only company in the world to fly a private jet into the interior of Antarctica. Operating a ‘zero-impact policy’, White Desert offers an experience that is as adventurous as it is luxurious. When he is not in Antarctica, Patrick divides his time between South Africa and London.
Ed Stafford is the Guinness World Record-holding first man to walk the Amazon. He was European Adventurer of the Year 2011.
On the 9th August 2010, Ed walked into the Guinness Book of Records after becoming the first man to walk the length of the Amazon River. Sir Ranulph Fiennes described his expedition as being “truly extraordinary… in the top league of expeditions past and present.”
Simon Usborne is a feature writer for newspapers and magazines and contributes travel articles to the Financial Times. He won the Travel Journalist of the Year award at this year's Society of Editors Press Awards.