We are pleased to report that Water-to-Go ambassador, Ash Dykes, has now reached his second major milestone of along his world first journey. Ash is making excellent progress as he attempts to become the first person to walk the entire 4,000-mile length of the Yangtze river, a trek expected to take him an entire year to complete.
Ash says “it’s been a wild adventure and more extreme than I could have ever imagined”. This part of his Yangtze walk has certainly had its challenges for the UK adventurer but getting to the second bend in the Yangtze marks the end of another chapter as he continue to make great progress on his expedition.
#MissionYangtze so far
Ash has now completed 1,500 miles of his journey, currently residing just outside of Lijiang. He is ahead of schedule which is great to hear especially considering the difficulties he has faced along the way.
The journey started at the scientific source of the Yangtze at an altitude of 5,000 miles above sea level. Since then Ash reached his first major milestone on 3rd October, 550 miles into his journey. Ash resided in his first city of the expedition, Yushu, in the Qinghai province of western China.
So far Ash has overcome a number of challenges whilst travelling through rural China. Firstly, he has had to battle temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius whilst also facing tough terrain in the form of glaciers, mountain passages and cliff faces as well as encountering a number of snow blizzards. This is also had a huge impact on his team that is travelling with him meaning he they have had to take the necessary precautions on his expedition.
Ash explains, “Seven team members have already been taken off the expedition due to altitude sickness, injury or physically not being able to overcome the challenges that have presented themselves. The main thing is, they’re back home, safe and sound, with their families.”
On top of this, Ash has had to deal with the threat of bears and wolves, having found fresh bear prints outside his tent one morning. One technique the team uses whilst walking at night is to blow on whistles, making bears aware of their presence, in the hope they will then stay clear. It is at times like this that we all realise this is not a mission to be underestimated and Ash is fully aware of the challenges he has already faced and that are ahead of him.
What’s next for Ash on #MissionYangtze
Now at the river’s southmost point, the team will take a 90-degree turn continuing through Chongqing, Wuhan and Nanjing before coming to the end of the journey in Shanghai.
Ash will now move from western rural China and into eastern urbanised China. He will face new challenges going through major Chinese cities and hopes to inspire and educate as many people as possible on his way.
Mandarin Films (Ash’s China-based production team who are creating a documentary of this expedition), are soon to release one-minute teaser clips every week. This documentary coverage is heavily anticipated in the Chinese market and is expected to be popular in international markets too. You can view these on Ash’s YouTube channel soon after they are released.
Ash Dykes on Plastic Pollution in the Yangtze
During #MissionYangtze, Ash has been keeping a close eye on the environment in the remote areas of the Yangtze river. This is an important aspect of his expedition and his findings will be very useful to local authorities and environmental organisations. Ash has already been working with the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) as an ambassador since the start of his journey to promote and spread awareness of biodiversity throughout China.
“Protection of the environment is very close to my heart and I always push out the message that you must enjoy this planet we live on, but also protect it,” he says.
Ash says that he is “surprised with how well cared for the Yangtze River and the tributaries that flow into it actually are. I’ve not seen much plastic in the waterways up to now. It’s against the Tibetan culture to disrespect nature”.
It is great to hear this positive news from his findings and we hope to hear more of the same as he continue down the Yangtze. Water-to-Go has partnered with Ash and the team in China will join him at certain sections en route, to educate local communities on plastic pollution and provide water filtration bottles, which give them access to fresh drinking water. Ash aims to deliver presentations, talking about the beauty of China, his adventures and the importance of enjoying yet protecting the planet we live on.
Overall, Ash has been getting on very well in his expedition, despite a few ups and downs at the start, and has been starting to take in the beauty of the Yangtze and China in general.
“China has really proved to be more diverse and beautiful than I could have hoped for, but I’ve had to constantly stay alert and focussed. I’ve certainly been tested in many aspects but I’ve been able to overcome each challenge I’ve faced.”
Ash Dykes on his mission so far
Ash will continue his journey from Dali in the coming days following a short break. We will endeavour to keep you all updated of his progress and we wish Ash and all of his team the best for the remainder of their time along the Yangtze.