Starting his ClimbTheUK challenge on Shining Tor in Cheshire this morning, the 21-year-old adventurer will attempt to walk, cycle and run to the top of all 100 counties in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in a continuous 10-week push.
Alex Staniforth at Derbyshire Bridge ready to start his epic journey
ClimbTheUK will be almost entirely human-powered, including a kayak journey across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, with the only motorised transport being ferries to Northern Ireland and the Scottish islands. Overall, Alex will cycle 4782 miles, hike and run 484 miles, and kayak 5 miles, with a combined altitude gain of over 380,000ft – the height of 13 Mount Everests.
After weeks of fine weather the day started with steady drizzle as Alex, joined by family and friends, set off from Derbyshire Bridge, in the Peak District's Goyt Valley, towards Shining Tor, his first objective. Commenting on the weather and the journey ahead Alex said "It will get me ready for Scotland, where I'm expecting the worst of the weather and also the most critical timings with ferry connections to make that are all pre-booked" With panniers weighing in at 10 kg, including everything bar a lightweight, 600g, sleeping bag (to be added later today) and food and a bike weighing 15kg it's a minimalist set up for the 10 week journey and to keep the weight down food and additional essentials are being posted ahead in batches to be collected every 3 or 4 days.
Alex was joined at the start by his mother
Alex planned his entire 5,000-mile challenge using ViewRanger’s online route-plotting software and will rely on the app’s digital mapping and GPS navigation features to climb every peak, including the iconic summits of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, and Slieve Donard. Alex said: “This challenge will take me across some of the UK's most challenging terrain. Using the ViewRanger app’s GPS technology will give me peace of mind with essential reliable navigation when I need it most.” And you can follow Alex every step of the way with ViewRanger's live online tracker map.
The journey began on foot in drizzle
Using a combination of the ViewRanger app, a rugged CAT S60 smartphone, and the brand new CASIO PRO TREK Smart watch, Alex will navigate and record every step of his journey using cutting-edge technology designed specifically for outdoor use.
Alex is a prolific charity fundraiser and will be using ClimbTheUK to support YoungMinds – the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people – and is encouraging as many people as possible to download his route in the ViewRanger app and join him on individual sections of the challenge.
Craig Wareham, CEO and co-founder of ViewRanger, said: “Alex is taking on an epic challenge and raising money for a fantastic cause, and we’re delighted he’s using ViewRanger to plan, navigate, record and share all of his adventures during ClimbTheUK. We’d like to see as many people as possible download Alex’s routes in the app and join him on different legs of the journey to show their support. It’s going to be an incredibly tough challenge, but if anyone can pull it off, Alex can.”
View and download the ViewRanger route for every section of Alex’s ClimbTheUK challenge here.
You can sponsor Alex’s challenge by donating to YoungMinds on his Just Giving Page.