First descent of the Ganges

Spike Reid

Notice Period:
Emergency (maybe less than one week's notice)
13th November 2019
Expedition | Motivation | Environmental | India

The River Ganges is the most polluted major river in the world. With a few team mates I decided to descent the entire river by stand-up paddleboard (SUP). No-one had been foolish enough to do the 3,000km journey in this manner before so we were certainly the first to travel the length of the river by SUP.

The main aim of the expedition was to raise awareness of the excessive single-use plastic that goes into the river and ends up in our oceans.

We started at the glacial source of the Ganges, revered as the holiest river in the world by Hindus. After hiking and cycling beside the river we launched onto the Ganges at Devprayag for white water paddleboarding, followed by months paddling across the Gangetic Plains of northern India. After 98 days the Indian Ocean journey was finally reached.

This major expedition received publicity in UK national press, Discovery Channel India and The Travel Show on the BBC.

My talk will bring the Ganges to life, describing the many challenges we faced, and those that threaten the environment of the river basin that is home to 450million people.

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About Spike Reid

Breathtaking, breathtaking. That was a beautifully put together presentation. — Michael Palin

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Are you looking for a speaker who will take you on fascinating journeys? I'll inspire your audience to push their boundaries and find their own 'unclimbed mountain'.

Over the last 15 years I have led expeditions on six continents and every environment. With two friends I won the first-ever Land Rover and Royal Geographical Society bursary and undertook a circumnavigation of the world along the line of 50°N. We carried out a series of case studies investigating the effects changes to weather systems and climate change are already having on farmers along this line of shared latitude.

In the years that followed I undertook a series of expedition scaled previously unclimbed mountains in Central Asia and adventures in my own backyard, celebrating the amazing environment we have on our doorstep.

The last major expedition I did was the first descent of the River Ganges by stand-up paddleboard. We did this to raise awareness of the excessive plastic pollution that ends up in the river and other waterways.

After two years as President of the student union at Northumbria, representing over 30,000 students, I worked in events at the Royal Geographical Society for over three years. Now I am an International Mountain Leader and when not public speaking or writing, I lead tours overseas – having worked in over 20 countries.

The talks I have delivered have had a large range of audiences on the edge of their seats and inspired many people to take on challenges. The presentation will be tailored and fine tuned for your audience.

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