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Today marks the day dual world-first record holder, adventurer and extreme explorer Ash Dykes crosses the finish line on his latest, 352-day 4,000-mile outing where he's taken over 8 million steps to walk into achieving his third world-first record.
If you'd like to give Ash a shout-out with your support, always feel free to do so but remember to tag him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with #MissionYangtze to join the conversation - he'll be reading all your messages and engaging back where possible!
> Learn more about #MissionYangtze
It has been almost an entire year of lengthy, exhaustive and sometimes incredibly dangerous walking for Ash as he approaches the end of his largest mission to date - #MissionYangtze.
The challenge was clear, to be the first person in recorded history to traverse the entire length of the Yangtze River in China. From source to sea; this to many seemed an unimaginable feat, a point which made it look ever more attractive to the odds-defying Ash Dykes.
Ash has always had a curious fascination about the wonders of China, and when the opportunity to trek the 4,000-mile journey on foot started holding some traction, further planning, training and behind the scenes logistics allowed Ash to mentally and physically prepare for what would become his most ambitious mission to date.
The source of the Yangtze is the highest source of any major river around the world with an altitude of over 5,100 meters. Situated in the Tibetan Plateau; the severity of the challenge was not to be underestimated. It was expected Ash would be facing a lot of dangers from the sub-zero temperatures early on, the wild bears, wolves and snakes through to the regional locals who would naturally be caught off guard to see a strange foreigner alone, walking in such remote and dangerous areas of China.
Finally, the demands that Ash would face both mentally and physically with the expedition being one year to complete could take him to breaking point - however, the training, from both fitness to mental preparation allowed Ash to throw himself into the uncomfortable, dangerous & physical challenges that awaited him.
Ash started close to the source on 15/08/2018, however on the 26/08/2018 Ash returned to the 5,100m altitude with authorisation to take his team to the source of the Yangtze river in order to take pictures and technology to verify his achievement. Making it to the remote location alone was tricky, and kicked Ash into his 'wild side' very quickly!
#MissionYangtze showed its sheer difficulty early on, due to the -20°C temperatures, 40-mile setbacks/rewinds due to Tibetan government-officials, and the odd detainments by police; such as that by the Qinghai Police in early September 2018; however regardless of the issues Ash experienced early on, it wasn't long before anything that was thrown at Ash (including his initial videographer team bailing due to the extremities) just gave him even more willpower to carry on.
One of the things Ash realised very early on in #MissionYangtze was simply how wonderful the people living in China are. Even the officials who were just doing their job by asking questions, and taking Ash on administration-based detours. Many people who Ash met along #MissionYangtze were incredibly approachable, supportive and giving - as Ash was invited into the small homes of families in the east, given warm welcomes, incredible regional food, and tactics/warnings in regards to the dangers Ash would face along the way.
Crowds and film crews surround Ash as he completes the final KM's of his 6500KM expedition
Well done Ash; a fantastic example of someone with heartwarming morals, respect for people & nature all around the world, and impeccable physical and emotional strength. We can't wait to see more of #MissionYangtze over the coming weeks and months.