I gave a corporate talk today, at an event in a hotel in Glasgow, where I worked as a student. My old boss was there and welcomed me back like I was turning up to work another shift behind the bar. Moments like this come along rarely, moments when you are taken back in time, only to realise how much has changed. A lot happens in six years!
This year alone has been filled with great highs and lows. January was the toughest month of expedition in my life – never sleeping for more than 90 minutes and rowing for 12 hours a day across the mid-Atlantic. It was brutal and I missed the interest and culture of my land based adventures. Then, after 28 days we were thrown into a fight for our lives. I shall never forget, nor find ways to fully describe those 14 hours that we fought to survive our capsize. Equally, I shall never forget meeting up with Nicci back on dry land and our wedding 8 weeks later.
Whilst I was on honeymoon, my great friend and mentor David Peat, who had directed both the World and Americas documentaries, passed away. A great man, who I miss enormously. I have been handed a baton of responsibility to carry on his great legacy in broadcasting.
This incredible summer of sport is one that will live in all of our minds for a very long time. My personal favourites were Wiggo’s acceptance speech at the end of the Tour de France and Andy Murray’s triumph after defeat over Federer on Wimbledon’s centre court. My small part was to carry the Olympic Torch across the Forth Road Bridge – a great privilege.
This summer also took me to France, firstly for a gruelling pro-am race across the Alps, leading a team of ex-servicemen for the charity Walking With The Wounded and then for an expedition to recreate a WW2 Marines operation, known best as the Cockleshell Heroes. Both of these projects have taught me a lot about the incredible work of our armed forces, both past and present.
Apart from spending time back on the road, talking at events across the UK, this autumn has mainly been about planning the major projects for the coming years. I am itching to talk about the big next plans, but we aren’t quite there yet. What I can announce and am thoroughly looking forwards to is heading out to Malaysia in January to cycle part my world route with Kukri Events. This time in a group and fully supported, it will be superb fun to revisit one of my favourite parts of the world. Then, in late February and most of March I am off to Patagonia for an expedition across the northern ice cap. More info on this very soon.
Loads to look forwards to. And for old times sake, I should also try and arrange that shift as a bartender!
The Queen’s Baton Relay – one of the great traditions...