Inspiring The Next Generation Of Adventurers
Mountaineer and survival instructor David Love has led expeditions on land and sea to some of the most volatile countries on Earth, but he believes that adventure should be accessible by all of us
Passionate about the power of time spent outdoors, David Love is committed to teaching his extensive survival skills – learned during his career in the British Army and on numerous expeditions to volatile areas – to young people with similarly adventurous ambitions.
But in a high-tech age where few stones are left unturned, just how applicable are the skills he seeks to teach? And if an adventure is what you crave, can the world at your doorstep provide as rich an experience as distant lands?
More than ever, young people need role models to get them off their devices and into the hills
Q: At 18 you made a solo ascent of Mont Blanc – what did you learn from that early expedition?
A: ‘I learned that having the right level of experience cannot be underestimated. At 18 I had absolutely none, so deciding to climb Mont Blanc solo was, at the very least, reckless. Although I was successful, the climb wasn’t without some big mental and physical challenges, and I learned a lot of hard lessons along the way, such as listening to what my body is trying to tell me, eating and drinking enough, and about how far I can push myself. Above all, I learned that I was a lot more capable that I thought I was.’
Q: How does the preparation for a solo adventure differ from when you’re travelling with a team?
A: ‘The toughest (but also most rewarding) part of solo adventures, is the burden of decision making. You, and you alone are responsible for every decision you make, and you will have to live with the outcome, whether good or bad. This relies on you having all the necessary experience to be in the best position to make those decisions. Where you don’t, the prospect can be a very scary one, and I’ve been in that position quite a few times.’
‘When you’re with others, those decisions can be shared and discussed, with someone that you trust always checking your thinking. Don’t get me wrong, when you make those decisions alone and everything does go to plan, it is very rewarding. But then it’s equally awesome to share those experiences with someone else, too – it’s how life-long friendships are forged.’
Q: Your expeditions have subjected you to both sub-zero and sub-Saharan conditions – which are more challenging?
A: ‘Both have very different challenges and I enjoy them equally. But they can both be very dangerous at the extreme end of the spectrum. It’s all about how you prepare that will determine your level of success. Extreme heat is by far the more challenging as access to drinking water, hyperthermia and exposure to scorching conditions quickly become life-threatening problems. Personally, if I had to choose, I think I’d prefer the cold – you can always warm up in the cold by keeping active and adding more layers; you have far less options to cool down in extreme heat.’
Q: Is it possible to have an adventure without leaving the UK?
A: ‘Absolutely. Some of my best trips have been in Great Britain. As an Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion, it’s my role to make everyone aware of the countless adventures right on our doorsteps. Whether you go to you local green space to climb a massive tree (without falling out of course) or jump in the car and head to your nearest National Park, as long as you’ve not been there before and there’s an element of unknown risk – guess what, you’re on an adventure.’
Words: Issac Williams