Celebrity-backed zero emissions expedition aims to raise £1 million for forces heroes
Kevin Shannon is planning to circumnavigate the globe entirely under his own steam in a unique feat which will take three years to complete.
The ex-Knutsford High pupil is set to cover 38,000 miles across five continents and two oceans without burning a single drop of fossil fuel. Instead, he will be relying solely on pedal power while on land and wind while at sea, using a mountain bike and sailing craft to get across the earth’s surface.
Kevin is hoping to raise a whopping £1 million by completing the expedition, which will see him venture into lands as harsh and unforgiving as Siberia and the Gobi Desert. And the 23-year-old has chosen a remarkably worthy charity to benefit from his gruelling endeavours.
All the money Kevin raises will be going to Combat Stress – a vital charity which helps British servicemen and women suffering from the psychological after-effects of conflict zones from the Falklands to Afghanistan. The cause is also close to Kevin’s heart as several family members have served in the military and Combat Stress has directly helped a friend of his who suffered mental health problems after serving in Northern Ireland and the Gulf.
Kevin’s aims are so ambitious, they have attracted the attention of one of the world’s most famous explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who was so impressed by the youngster’s plan, he signed up as one of the expedition’s patrons.
He is also joined as a patron by fellow adventurer Benedict Allen and, what’s more, Kevin has named the expedition in honour of another celebrated explorer from his home village. His trek has been titled ‘Because it is there’ in reference to the answer Mobberley-born George Mallory gave when asked why he wanted to climb Everest.
Kevin told the Knutsford Times he had always been attracted to the outdoors but came up with the idea for his expedition on the spur of the moment.
He said: “The idea came about me and a couple of friends were just knocking around ideas for different expeditions but now I can’t wait to go – it’s something I just need to do.
“I chose to support Combat Stress because a lot of my family and friends are ex-forces and a friend who benefited from their services was telling me about the excellent work the charity does. I was amazed I’d never heard of it and wanted to do everything I could to help.
“I also wanted to do the expedition because I’m looking for a real adventure and I don’t think there’s any better way to see the world than from the back of a bike. It’s fast enough for you get to visit everywhere but it’s slow enough for you to take it all in.”
Kevin also explained how he managed to secure Sir Rannulph Fiennes as a patron of his expedition after he exhibited his idea at an outdoor-themed show at Birmingham’s NEC Arena.
“To have him come on board and give it the thumbs-up is fantastic”, Kevin said. “For anyone going into what I’m doing, he’s a huge hero.”
Kevin, who is currently working as a part-time zookeeper, added: “I grew up doing outdoor activities like camping and trekking but I’ve not done anything on this scale, so I’ve been training by going up to places like Scotland at the weekends.
“My route should take me from the UK, through western Europe, eastern Europe and into Russia and across to Siberia. I will then head south through Mongolia crossing the Gobi Desert and into China and continue down to Southeast Asia, crossing to Australia. Then I will travel to South America where I will head north following the west coast until I enter the USA.
“From there I plan to head towards the east coast of Canada, heading across the US diagonally – from here I will travel to England and finish my expedition where I set off.
“I will be facing extreme sub-zero temperatures, scorching heat, thirst, hunger and physical and mental exhaustion but the nature of my journey will enable me to meet, interact and immerse myself in different cultures from every corner of the globe.
“I do desperately need sponsorship because I’ve launched this at a tricky time and when you’re out in the wilds on your own without any help, you need the best gear because you can’t afford for it to fail.”
Perhaps understandably, Kevin is a bachelor and will not be leaving behind a wife or girlfriend while he sets off for his three-year odyssey in March next year, which he hopes to start with a high-profile launch event. A film crew from professional production company Fact Not Fiction will also be charting his progress and could end up making the animation graduate’s expedition into a major feature film.
Alternatively, call him on 07792 026653.
picture credit: www.jonparkerlee.com