#MissionYangtze: How One Man Walked 4,000 Miles


He completed Madagascar, he completed Mongolia, so what was next for the internationally renowned adventurer, Ash Dykes? Taking to the wilderness once more, Ash recently completed #MissionYangtze, an unbelievable trek spanning 4,000 miles from the source of the river Yangtze. An incredible achievement, but how on Earth did he do it?

A firm favourite of ours, Ash is a popular motivational speaker on the circuit due to his invaluable strategies on mental and physical strength. Quoted as a “hypnotic”, “enthusiastic” and “captivating” speaker, he is a pleasure to work with. Here at the Champions Speakers agency, we can vouch for his unwavering determination in the face of a challenge like #MissionYangtze.

In this post, we will take you through the journey our motivational speaker, Ash Dykes, underwent to complete his mission. Ash himself described the trek as his hardest yet, but with two world firsts under his belt, it is no surprise that he took the Yangtze in his stride.

Ash’s Previous Missions

In 2014, Ash became the first recorded person to complete a solo walk across Mongolia. Over 1,500 miles of unforgiving deserts and the Mongolian Steppe, he persevered through blizzards, sandstorms and threats from wild animals like Grey Wolves. Ash was awarded the Welsh Adventurer Of The Year award 2015 and The National Adventurer of the Year award, in recognition of his achievement.

Named by locals as ‘The Lonely Snow Leopard’, he completed the expedition 22 days short of his predicted time, returning to the UK after 78 days. Ash’s story featured on both the BBC and ITV, as he documented each step of the way to share the highs and lows. As he discovered first hand the challenging winter experienced in Mongolia, Ash raised funds and awareness for Nomadic living conditions.

Only two years later, Ash completed another world first when he became the first recorded adventurer to traverse Madagascar. In 155 days, over 1,600 miles, he climbed eight of the highest mountains on the fourth largest island that the world has to offer. Ash took the opportunity to make a lasting impact as a result of his journey by partnering with conservation charities, to highlight the unique biodiversity of Madagascar.

To complete his mission, Ash had to overcome Malaria, military conflict, bandits, insects and his personal demons, to return home with another world record. At one of the most critical points in the expedition, Ash found himself on a hand-built raft down a crocodile-infested ravenous river. And yet, he proved the true extent of human capabilities.

Taking On The Yangtze

From the 15th of August 2018 to the 12th of August 2019, Ash pushed his mind and body to the absolute limits by walking the length of the Yangtze. In an interview with BBC News, Ash stated that “the start was actually the most difficult”, at the highest source of any major river, the Jianggendiru Glaciers. He described how the mountain was “five times the height of Snowdon and the same height as Mt Everest base camp”.

Before Ash could even start his mission, he experienced a two-month delay so his journey actually started amid -20C winter. Faced with 6,437 kilometres and 8 million steps, he was no stranger to such dangers as bears, snowstorms and mental isolation.

For one person to achieve such heights, they need to have mental strength as sturdy as the mountain they’re climbing, as deep as the ocean they’re crossing and as fierce as the storm they’re facing. Ash Dykes has all of that and more. In his motivational speeches, he gives the audience an insight into the methods he used to nurture resilience. Through invaluable life lessons straight from the expert, business owners, schools and industry events will benefit from this master of peak performance.

Despite the trials, Ash completed the expedition after a year, positioning himself as a three-time world-first explorer. Though some would hang up their walking boots after such an experience, Ash’s thirst for adventure means that he is nowhere near done. In fact, he was quoted by the BBC saying that his missions will get “more ambitious”.

You can book a leading motivational speaker for your event, function or conference today by simply contacting the Champions Speakers agency by filling in our online contact form or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.