Woods in Ealing by the Grand Union Canal. The view from Alexandra Palace, looking south across #London.

We have just completed the last of our 125 adventures across the UK

A short time ago Seb and I completed Route 125 and the our last of 125 adventures across the UK by going free running through the capital. From the Lizard in Cornwall to Unst in the Shetland islands every adventure has been different. We have been wild swimming in waterfalls, gliding over Yorkshire, tracking lots of animals and sleeping in all kinds of strange places. The purpose of the project was to celebrate National Geographic’s 125th anniversary and hopefully inspire a few people to try some of what we have done. It would not have been possible without our Toyota RAV4 that not only powered our massive journey, but protected us from rain, snow, hale, midges, sun and cold.

Slide 1

I will be writing a number of blog posts over coming weeks that include tales and lessons from our time travelling around the United Kingdom together, but on the day that we completed our ‘family expedition’ I wanted to share two videos.

Slide 2

The first is of Seb and I going cliff climbing in Pembrokeshire. With the guidance of Jon Haylock, an inspirational leader who is Head of Adventure at TYF, Seb needed to abseil off a cliff down to the sea and climb back up again. Then aged 9, Seb was very nervous and had declared that he was very afraid of heights. It took a great deal of courage for him to step backwards off that cliff.


Over the following weeks I slowly introduced him to bigger challenges, sometimes getting it wrong but mostly getting it right. A few months after this climb and a couple of weeks after his 10th birthday I took Seb and one of his friends to Zip World in Wales. Perhaps more of a controlled ride than an exploration, this adventure involved zipping down a 1 mile cable at speeds of nearly 100mph some 500ft in the air. This second video includes the sound of Seb shouting with joy as he zoomed down the line. A massive achievement for someone who was afraid of heights earlier that year. I am very proud of him.

Over the last 6 months our relationship has strengthened massively and seeing Seb grow in so many ways has been highly rewarding. Very few people are able to see as much of our country as we have and we both feel very fortunate for having been able to enjoy it together. I am now looking forward to our next adventure…

Visit the Route 125 website to read more about our journey, watch more videos, look at our photos and find an adventure near you. You can follow me on Twitter at @DanRavenEllison.


Discover Explore

I’ve not been blogging as much as I would like to, either here or on The Geography Collective’s blog. We are currently in the final stages of developing Discover Explore, a project for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad that is part of a strand called Discovering Places. The purpose of the project is to help young people and families discover, explore and learn from new places in new ways.

The Discover Explore pilot focusses along the Great Glen in Scotland. The Glen stretches down a geological fault between Fort William and Inverness. It is here where you will find Britain’s oldest rocks and what is left of a mountain range that used to be as high as the Himalayas. Discover Explore covers and bridges some of the inseparable natural and human heritage of the  area including pre-historic hunters, Picts, Clans, Jacobites, myths and legends including a number of different Loch Ness Monsters.

Parts of Discover Explore are about exploring to discover specific places.. find which street a photograph was taken on and you can win points. Others are far more subjective challenges that only the explorer will know how well their mission has been done. They can still win honesty points though.

Some of the missions are text based, others include pictures and some include listening to sounds. You can listen to two different interviews that are used in Discover Explore here. One is of a full time and professional Loch Ness Monster hunter.

Discover Explore is young and will grow over coming weeks and months. May you be a family visiting the Great Glen or a teacher anywhere in the world looking for some activity ideas, I hope you enjoy it when it goes live.

To be one of the first to learn when it goes live visit the holding page here.


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