Those fine people at National Geographic have published their Ultimate Adventure Bucket List 2013. In what’s become an annual tradition, National Geographic ask their 20 Adventurers of the Year to share their dream trips and wildest adventures to help inspire us all to seek out our own adventures. You can also see their lists for 2011 and 2012.
Here we select our favourites from over the years to create our own Ultimate Adventure Bucket List. For most of us however these adventures are mere fantasy, so we’ve also offered an alternative, more accessible version of each – focusing on adventures that can be found right here in the UK…
Photo by Edurne Pasaban
1. Climb the Seven Summits
Possibly the ultimate mountaineering achievement – climbing the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
The ultimate mountain, of course, being the ‘roof of the world’ Mount Everest standing at 8848m.
UK alternative: The Three Peaks Challenge
Why not attempt to climb Scarfell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon – the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales – in 24 hours.
Photo by Bradley Ambrose
2. Descend into an Active Volcano
Most people would ran in the other direction – and fast. But some choose instead to don a heat proof suit and brave the toxic gas, extreme heat, tumbling rocks, and unwarranted explosions to get as close as possible to the boiling lake of lava inside an active volcano.
UK alternative: Climb Arthur’s Seat
Long since extinct, but nonetheless a volcano right in the heart of the city of Edinburgh. Arthur’s Seat is a magical place regardless of whether your interest is geology, hill walking or just a great day out with the family.
Photo by Peter McBride
3. Megatransect the Amazon
The Amazon is the second longest river in the world – but certainly the most wild and dangerous. At over 4000 miles, mostly through thick perilous jungle, this trek is one very few have accomplished. The UK’s very own Ed Stafford being the most recent in 2010.
UK alternative: Walk from source to sea
A perfect way to get into the natural world and go on an adventure full of mystery. Simple find the source of a river and follow it until you reach the sea. No need for a map (although always have one in case of emergency) – just let the river guide your adventure.
Photo by Alastair Humphreys
4. Bike Around the World
You’d be surprised at how many perfectly ordinary people are doing this right now. So if you’re tired of the everyday grind, hop on a bike and start cycling!
Al Humphreys spent 4 years cycling the world – and it only cost him £8000 in total. However, the world record stands at an incredible 105 days!
UK alternative: Cycle coast to coast
There are many routes but the most popular appears to be the 170-mile stretch across Lancashire and Yorkshire. Have a read here about how Paul Wilson got on when he attempted the journey in two days.
Photo by Jeb Corliss
5. Swim with Great White Sharks
A combination of two of our greatest fears – deep, open water and the powerful jaws of the ocean’s ultimate predator.
Sharks do actually have a rather undeserved reputation as man eaters but this is still an experience that would terrify the vast majority of us.
UK alternative: Swim with sharks!
Yes, you can still swim with sharks right here in the UK. Okay, maybe not Great White sharks but there are plenty of places which offer you the chance to dive amongst a variety of sharks both in aquariums and out in the open sea.
Photo by Sano Babu Sunuwar
6. Make the Ultimate Descent
In 2011, Nepalis Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa paraglided from the summit of Mount Everest, biked to the nearest river, kayaked across the border into India, and then paddled the Ganges River to the Indian Ocean. They called it the “Ultimate Descent” and who can really argue with that.
UK alternative: Go skydiving.
For your very own ‘ultimate descent’ why not try skydiving. There are centres across the UK that offer both tandem and solo skydives. I did several solo skydives while at university and it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
Photo by Jason Kenworthy
7. Stand-Up Paddleboard Mentawai, Indonesia
Paddleboarding adventures can be found all over the world but paddleboarding world champ Jamie Mitchell recommends Mentawai as the ultimate destination.
Read more about Jamie’s adventures here.
UK alternative: Surf the Severn Bore
The Severn Bore is the tidal surge that sweeps up the River Severn every day. It’s common for people to surf the bore in all sorts of different ways. Why not give it a go! Find out more here.
Photo by Greg Stamer
9. Kayak Circumnavigation of South America
Freya Hoffmeister is currently bidding to become the first person to circumnavigate the continent by kayak – in a three-year adventure around the coast of South America.
If Freya completes this incredible journey it will be the longest sea kayaking expedition ever undertaken.
UK alternative: Kayak across Scotland
It’s about 120 miles from Inverness, along Loch Ness, to the western coast of Scotland. I know this as I’ll be kayaking this route later this year (read more about my challenges here). This fantastic trip, about a week in length, is ideal for solo kayakers, groups or even families.
Photo by Kip Evans
10. Hike the Triple Crown
The Triple Crown is a combination of the three great long distance hike’s in the United States – the Pacific Coast Trial, the Appalachian Trial and the Continental Divide Trail. Total length a whopping 7900 miles including a total ascent of 190 miles along the route! The first person to walk the Triple Crown back to back was Matthew Hazley from Northern Ireland, who took 239 days in 2005.
UK alternative: The Pennine Way
At 431km the Pennine Way is one of the longest trials in the UK. It runs along the ‘backbone’ of the UK – the Pennine Hills starting at Edale, in the Peak Distrcit, and finishing just inside the Scotland border. The perfect introduction to long distance walking. Find out how I got on just doing two days on this epic walk here.
I hope this Ultimate Adventure Bucket list has helped you dream big in terms of the adventure goals for your life – and that our UK alternatives may help to provide a way for you to find adventure right here in the UK.
Do let us know about any adventures, or microadventures, that you embark on. We’d love to feature them on the Goalvanise blog.