Spike grew up on the edge of Dartmoor, before studying design at Northumbria University. He was elected President of the Students’ Union and represented 30,000 students following his degree.
After working at the Royal Geographical Society for over 3 years he was inspired by the amazing adventurers who spoke there to leave the desk job behind and train up as an International Mountain Leader so he could take groups overseas.
In addition to feats climbing mountains, he is a keen stand-up paddleboarder. He completed the first-ever descent of the River Ganges from source to sea by paddleboard.
360 are delighted to have Spike as part of their growing team of excellent leaders who all deliver far more than expected. If you are lucky enough to head out on an expedition with Spike, then you can be rest assured that you will have a superbly awesome adventure. He is knowledgeable, well-travelled and great fun to hang out with while being vigilant and assertive in keeping you safe. This combination makes for a truly fantastic leader.
What was your first adventure?
My first real adventure was an adventure in my own backyard, the Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor. This hiking event is 35, 45 or 55 miles over rough moorland in two days. I completed all three of them in my teenage years and it was terrific to push myself in ‘the last wilderness of England’. It has really inspired me to travel to the wilds overseas and also have more adventures in the British Isles.
What has been your most memorable adventure?
Ten years ago I completed a circumnavigation of the world along the line of 50° N with two friends in a Defender 110 after we won the ‘Go Beyond’ bursary supported by Land Rover and the Royal Geographical Society. We drove through some wild landscapes, covering over 22,000km and completing some fascinating research into the social impact of climate change. It was wonderfully memorable because of the people we met along the way, the landscapes we experienced, and the fact we didn’t have a single argument in 7 months together!
What item of travel kit you can't do without?
The right headgear. Usually on an expedition the environment throws something at you, be it sunshine, torrential downpours or rocks. I have learnt how vital it is to protect your head and core from all of these elements while out there in the wilderness. Eye protection is often vital too. I believe it is essential to choose the right headwear to comfortably fit on your head and for the challenges you’re likely to experience.
What three bits of advice would you give to people who are keen on adventures, trekking and climbing?
- Prepare fully for your expedition or challenge, particularly with regard to fitness. The fitter you are before you start the more you can enjoy it and the better you will be able to deal with the unexpected.
- Choose the right equipment for the adventure. Some economies are worth making, and always worth hunting out those discounts, but it is best you take reliable equipment into the wilderness as you do not want it to fail when you are 4 days walk from the nearest road, and 14 hours flight from the nearest Cotswold Outdoors!
- Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Even with the best planning, not everything will go according to plan on a true expedition. There is little that can be done about circumstances like freak weather and illnesses, so ready yourself for things to not go exactly as you dreamed they would. That said, with lots of positive mental attitude these challenges are easier to overcome
What is the best thing about your job?
Learning more about more remote parts of the world with some of the best groups. Many of the people I travel with are so open-minded to these different lands with different cultures and different customs. Going down the road less-travelled with these folk is inspiring and broadens my horizons and my understanding of the world.
Why did you choose to work for 360?
No one else would take me!
Seriously though, I have worked for various other companies in adventure travel but I am naturally drawn to 360 Expeditions due to their ethos and their expeditions. The trips I can lead with this company are second to none with fascinating destinations and great groups. The staff team led by Marni are also ace.