Igniting the flame for Adventure

This month, Craghoppers Ambassador David Love will be leading a team of DofE Award Holders to the summit of Mt Blanc.  With the team fully kitted out in our latest Discovery Adventures range, they couldn’t be better prepared for the challenge ahead, with one exception; no other member of the team has any experience of Alpine Mountaineering! Here’s Dave’s DofE story…

When I left school at 18, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  But I knew one thing for certain – adventure would be a big part of it.  I’d just completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, an experience that had provided me with a new perspective; freedom.  Freedom to explore new things, freedom to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and the freedom to discover myself.  All in the knowledge that you really can do whatever you want when you set your sights on something.

To put this theory to the test, my first adventure in the real world was certainly no small undertaking, to say the least.  I had decided to climb Mt Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe. I also wanted to do it solo and unguided, despite having no prior experience of mountaineering whatsoever.

Sure, there were aspects of this plan that were more than a little reckless and, in hindsight, there is much that I would have done differently, such as taking the appropriate clothing. However, if the DofE Award had taught me anything, it was that we all need to embrace risks more often and have faith in our ability to overcome adversity.  We will never truly grow as individuals if we cannot learn from our mistakes, all because we are too afraid to fail.

That very first time I stood on the summit of Mt Blanc remains the most memorable experience of my life and I can clearly recognise it as a turning point in my own personal journey of self-discovery.  It changed my entire outlook on what I believed could be achieved when you have the confidence and determination to succeed.  I have the DofE Award to thank for that, and for igniting my life-long flame for adventure.

Yet my DofE story is only one of the tens of thousands of lives that are transformed each year by the exceptional work of the DofE Award and its army of volunteers.  The scheme, which relies on charitable donations to continue, benefits this country’s young people, from all walks of life, particularly in areas that may not have otherwise been able to offer such opportunities to our next generation of young leaders and adventurers.

David on his first Ascent of Mt Blanc in 2005

The MtBlanc17 expedition aims to raise further awareness and much needed charitable funds for the Award by encouraging others to push the boundaries of their own personal comfort zone.  A team, comprising of existing Award holders, but with no prior experience of Alpine mountaineering, will demonstrate what can be achieved when you put your mind to something.  I cannot think of a better place to do this than where I learnt that very same lesson in 2005; the summit of Mt Blanc. And of course this time, having now learned from over a decade of mistakes since, we’ll be doing it in kit that is perfectly designed for the job!

To find out more about the MtBlanc17 Challenge, or help the team reach their fundraising target, visit David’s website.  You’ll also have a chance to win some fantastic Craghoppers goodies from the fundraising prize draw!

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