I was recently judging at the finals of the Kukri Adventure Scholarship at the Royal Geographical Society in London. The fantastic result of a long day of presentations and deliberation was that 5 of the 7 finalists were all announced winners!
A prize fund of up to £20,000 was up for grabs. I was joined on the judging panel by Sky’s Ben Shephard, Woody Morris from Kukri, Sarah Outen (adventurer extraordinaire) and Michelle Rothwell (fastest woman to do the Arch to Arc challenge).
Nick Hancock and his ‘Rocksolo’ adventure was awarded £3,500. Nick plans to live on Rockall – a tiny island off the West Coast of Scotland – for 60 days completely on his own and without any support.
Sam Norman, Matt Fraser and Harry Hogg were given £3,000 for their ‘Mississippi Challenge’ in the summer. Their epic journey will take them down the Mississippi river from source to sea by kayak. They will paddle 2400 miles in 2-3 months. Sam comments: “Getting recognized by the Kukri Adventure Scholarship is amazing for the Mississippi Challenge. It now allows us to focus on raising money for our charity, Help for Heroes and to start sharing our story with as many people as possible. Thank you Kukri!”
‘Adventure 2013’ is a journey to take a group of young sailors to the end of the world to the Antarctic and was awarded £7,000. Clare Thorpe, the 1st Mate on the adventure, adds: “It’s absolutely amazing to win part of the Kukri Adventure Scholarship. We really enjoyed the finals and it was great to have the chance to talk with some of the inspirational judges and to get to know the other winners. We are looking forward to working with Kukri and are excited by the opportunities this might open up for us.”
Super Cycling Man aka Will Hodson plans to cycle around the world and inspiring school children to ‘get on their bike’. He was given £1,500.
Finally, Niall MacDonald plans to row solo from New York to Stornoway – a route never done before – raising money for SAMH and inspiring people on the way. Niall has suffered from depression in the past and wants to prove to everyone that we are all capable of amazing things. The Kukri Adventure Scholarship awarded him £5,000.
Ben Shephard comments: “I’ve actually sat through and watched things like X-factor be judged from behind the scenes and you suddenly realise because it was us lot who had to make the decision it was agonising, because you want to be able to facilitate all these amazing adventures and dreams. But you’ve got to be realistic. You’ve got to be honest.”
My thoughts: “All the adventurers had a totally different approach and they all had a reason that you absolutely wanted to support them. When you dream up a scholarship you also imagine that it is going to be the best feeling to be able to give, however when you get to the decision point and feel like you’re doing the opposite and saying no to people. It’s tough, but ultimately there are a lot of happy people and soon enough they’re going to be doing the thing that they’ve been dreaming about for so long.”
Good luck to all the adventurers who entered the Kukri Adventure Scholarship. Whether you won or not, do get in touch by clicking ‘here’ and fill out the form under ‘Tell me about your adventure’. By getting your adventure featured on my website can help you with new followers, support and fundraising.
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