Sunday, 15 July 2012

Follow the progress of the expedition team

The Canada 2012 Youth expedition team will be carrying a GPS device that records our position on google maps.
You will be able to follow our progress by visiting:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Canada 2012 Youth Expedition... we are off!

Canada banner
Cross Posted on

At the weekend we had a successful first training session in Weymouth and Portland for our 2012 Youth Expedition to Canada. I’m excited to return to Canada with a group of young people as it was the location of my first youth expedition back in 1996 (have I really been running these trips for so long?).

Leading edge As with all Leading Edge Expeditions we will organise and run the trip voluntarily and contribute our own payment to the expedition account. I have been a volunteer expedition leader with Leading Edge since 1996 and shared cost; ownership and accountability remain some of my core philosophies. Over time years I have had the opportunity to lead young people to some of the remotest parts of the world including Mt Rainier, Pyrenees, Alaska, Dolomites and Wyoming. These expeditions have been and continue to be a privilege.

On a personal note I hate the glossy outdoor education brochures that come into schools from commercial companies, talking about chance in a life time opportunities for young people. In my experience these are often little more than adventure package holidays with a massive price tag.

Below is the Trip Description:

The group will fly from the UK to Vancouver in July 2012 for a four-week mountain bike and open canoe expedition in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. The expedition will be self-supported throughout our month away in the Canadian Wilderness.

From Vancouver the group will head north following the Sea-to-Sky Trail to Whistler. From Whistler we will head off-road to the north-east piecing together forestry, reservoir and old mining tracks. We will resupply at Lillooet before heading north to the Quesnel. From Quesnel we will following the Barkerville Highway to the east before heading north again to the Bowron Lake Provincial Park.

Bowron Lakes

The group will spend six days within the Bowron Lake Provincial Park where the main objective will be to canoe the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit. This 116km chain of lakes forms almost a perfect rectangle with the lakes joined by canoe portage trails. We will be ambitious in our aims and after a wilderness briefing from the ranger circuit we will aim to canoe the lakes in five days.


On completion of our canoe objective the real fun begins. Using historic mining trails we will pick, push and attempt to cycle our bikes up through the Goat River Trail, over the watershed and down to Route 16. We estimate slow progress on this section of the expedition due to the extreme nature of the terrain and the navigation challenges involved.


We will then follow Route 16 and Route 93 through Mt Robson, Jasper and Kootenay National Park until we eventually get to Slocan. The final leg of our journey links Slocan to Vancouver. Using a network of disused Kettle Railways (including trestle bridges and tunnels) we will wind our way back to Vancouver roughly following the Spirit of 2010 cycling and hiking route.

Spiret of 2010

A high environmental ethos will be applied throughout the expedition. We will be cycling and canoeing though designated wilderness areas. Expedition members will be expected to show care and respect for this unique environment.

Being safe and caring for the welfare of every individual is essential on any expedition be it a low level trip in the UK or the ascent of a mountain. This has always been a priority for us, and will continue to be so. High media attention on recent incidents has brought safety to the point where even measured, responsible risk taking is expected to be taken out the expedition equation. This sterile attitude only serves to hold back a young person’s personal growth. Life is about taking risks especially for the development of our future leaders. A Wilderness expedition is obviously a ‘risk’ activity but the skill of the leadership team will achieve the balance between safety and challenging experience for the young expeditioner.

As always Initial training will take place before we leave the UK.

This year we will also be using live tracking so you will be able to follow our progress on the Canada 2012 expedition website.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Well done the makings of a strong team, will need to be with 1500 miles to cover by bike and 65 miles by open canoe !

Monday, 30 May 2011

How to apply to be part of the expedition

You have to be aged between 15 and 25 years by 19 July 2012.

Go to and look for the Canada expedition

You can download a pdf will full details plus an application form.  Fill this out and return it to Mark Salmon the expedition leader.  If you have any general questions please contact the Leading Edge Expeditions office on 01305 777277 or email

The expedition leader will be happy to speak to you or any parents direct should you have any queries about the expedition.  His email is or his contact number is on the full details pdf.

Funding is often an issue with young people but you should not be discouraged from applying.  The only hurdle is the selection weekend and once you have successfully completed this, we will ask whether you want to commit to the expedition.  Expedition members raise money in different ways, asking for sponsors, part time jobs, fundraising activities, asking for money for birthday/christmas instead of a present. 
We will work as a group to help raise funds but you will need to be proactive too (we won't do it all for you!)

By far the hardest part in all this process is deciding you are actually going to take part; once you have decided this everything else will fall into place.  Testimonials from previous expedition participants.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Leadership Team

Mark Salmon - Expedition Leader

Mark is head of physical education and teacher in charge of outdoor education at The Wey Valley School, Weymouth. He has taken part in and lead many expeditions. These have included trips to Nepal, Colorado, Spain, French Alps and Mt. Rainier. Mark is very involved in the delivery of the outdoor and residential programme at the Wey Valley School and is in charge of their Duke of Edinburgh Awards Programme.
Mark is a Churchill Fellow and has been awarded the 2011 Stephenson Award for Outstanding service to Youth Expeditions from the Young Explorers' Trust (

Ollie Bray - Leader

Ollie has been climbing for the last 15 years. He is a full member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, the Institute of Outdoor Learning and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is a qualified headteacher currently seconded to work as National Adviser for Learning and Technology Futures at Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS).  LTS is the government-funded agency in Scotland responsible for curriculum design and innovation.
Ollie has led and taken part in many previous expeditions include ventures to British Columbia, Alaska, Norway, Wyoming, Mt. Rainier, Dolomites and South Africa. Many of these ventures have been approved by outside agencies including the Young Explorers Trust, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the Dorset Expeditionary Society.
Ollie last trip to the Gates of the Arctic in 2010 won the 2010 Captain Scott Award for Youth Expeditions.
Ollie is a keen mountaineer, sea kayaker and open boater.

Clive Burgess

Retired Head of Upper School in a large Weymouth Secondary school. Co- Founder of the Dorset Expeditionary Society, he has 25 years experience of youth expeditions in the UK and overseas. He is a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society. He has led expeditions to Canada, the USA, South America, Europe. Climbing experience covers Alaska, Colorado, the Alps, Andes, Canada. His most demanding climb was on Mt McKinley (Denali), one of the world’s most demanding mountains.

About the trip

The expedition will involve mountain biking across British Columbia from Vancouver to Calgary. Routes will include parts of the Trans Canada and Kettle Valley railway as well as other long distance off road routes.
We will be self-sufficient, with no support vehicle. Although there will be opportunities for advanced off road mountain biking, in essence the expedition is about a journey through a wonderful wilderness and reaching the end in time to fly home!
Mountain biking will mainly be on dirt track and old railway lines so technical riding skills are not required. A sense of adventure and high fitness on departure will be most important.
The group will also trek for some of the expedition through wilderness parks in the Canadian Rockies.

The expedition will apply for Duke of Edinburgh Gold award status for both the Residential and Expedition sections.  If you are interested in registering for D of E Gold please speak to the leader Mark Salmon who is a D of E Assessor and can inform you of the lastest status of the expedition.

Applications for the expedition are being taken now and applicants should be aged between 15 years and 25 years by 19 July2012.  You can download an application form from our website

All applicants will need to attend a selection weekend, it is after selection that you will be asked to make your commitment to take part in the trip.
Funding is often an issue for applicants, but we have many strategies to help you fundraise and gain sponsorship. If you pass selection and would like to take part in the expedition please speak to the Leadership team about funding options.