Adventures

My intent is to live an adventurous life. I love adventure, not just for the experiences, challenges and memories it brings but for the wealth of learning it bestows on those courageous enough to go after it. They are also a lot of fun. Below you'll find a reverse timeline of some of my favourite since I made a decision this was the life for me

Started from 2018

The 7 Summits

First achieved by Richard Bass (USA) on the 30th of April, 1985, the 7 summits challenge has become noted as a mountaineering and exploration accomplishment.First achieved by Richard Bass (USA) on the 30th of April, 1985, The 7 summits challenge has become noted as a mountaineering and exploration accomplishment.First achieved by Richard Bass (USA) on the 30th of April, 1985, the 7 summits challenge has become noted as a mountaineering and exploration accomplishment. ...

May 2018

Couchsurfing around Iran

Couchsurfing is a social network where people host or be hosted by fellow travellers. It’s a ‘gift economy’ and no money changes hands, however, you can bring a very small gift from your country for your host and their kind act of putting a roof over your head for a night or two. I like to use the site in lesser travelled countries,( i.e - Mauritania, Kyrgyzstan and now Iran) I feel it gives you a glimpse into everyday existence and makes the travel raw-er and more memorable. I’d heard such positive reports about the Iranian people and their hospitality so I thought why not attempt to couchsurf the whole time I was there. ...

March 2017

Riding the Iron Ore Train

What is it? ‘The world’s longest train’. Where is it? ‘Mauritania’..... Where??? ‘Mauritania is a vast country in North-West Africa, between the disputed region of Western Sahara and Senegal’ Why go? ‘Well, the train is a very unique travel experience, even one of cult status between the more ‘hardcore’ travellers, that I discovered years ago and appealed to me straight away. I knew there and then, reading that article, I would ride through the cool Saharan night on top of a moving heap of uncomfortable coal…...

Dec 2017 - Feb 2018

Solo Atlantic Row

December 2017, from the side of a marina in a small town in one of Spain’s Canary Islands, Damian shoved Darien, his 7m long, 2m wide ocean rowing boat away, into the unknown. The goal to traverse 5000km of ferocious Atlantic ocean, solo and unsupported. Over the following 63 days he would endure, storms, capsizes, Christmas day, sea and pressure sores, total steering system failure, close calls with 300m cargo ships, making eye contact with a whale and much more on the incredible adventure few ever get to experience....

June 2015

Gran Paradiso & Mont Blanc

Being a professional rugby player has many advantages, however it does hold one back in how they can push their body and mind outside of the sport, so upon retiring I set my sights on climbing the mountain that had loomed over the region I had finished my career with US Oyonnax, the highest mountain in Western Europe, Mont Blanc....

April 2016

The Marathon des Sables

A 6 day, 257km ultra-marathon across the uncompromising terrain of the Moroccan Sahara, with temperatures reaching 45 degrees celsius, carrying everything you need to survive for the full six days on your back from the start. All you get, as one of the 1000+ participants to take on the race known as ‘the world’s toughest’ is water and a Berber tent to share with 7 of your compatriots. My first big targeted adventure and challenge post rugby retirement, something I’d been dreaming of competing in for 13 years. Damian raised €7,800 for Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Amani Children's Home, Tanzania from completing the MDS....

August 2015

Afghanistan, High Altitude Trek

14 days discovering one of the most remote and beautiful corners of the world, the Wakhan Corridor. Situated in North-Eastern Afghanistan, between three of the world’s highest mountain ranges, The Pamirs, The Hindu Kush and the Karakoram, this finger of land, which is believed to have changed little since Alexander The Great’s army passed through in the 4th century, awaits great adventure for the intrepid traveller....

June 2014 - Ongoing

The World's 6 Lava Lakes

In researching a trip around Ethiopia, I came across a blog extolling the virtues of an area called the Danakil Depression on the border with Eritrea. It told of remote and dangerous land, scorched by the hottest temperatures on the planet, containing what the writer said, ‘was my best travel experience ever’, ...

November 2014

The Plank Walk in the Sky, China

‘The World’s most dangerous hike’... the marketing pulled me in and before I knew it, it was going to be the centrepiece of a 11 days trip through China. Situated on Mount Hua, one of the 5 great mountains of China, close to Xi’an, well by Chinese standards anyway, ‘the plank walk in the sky’ is a 40 to 50m walkway on a couple of 2x4’s bolted to the side of a vertical face, above a 1000m metre drop….. Where do I sign up…. ...

May 2014

Trolltunga, Norway

‘Trolltunga! That’s hardly an adventure, sure anybody can stroll up there’....... Perhaps! However, when my good friend Tommy Ellard and I rocked up one mid-May morning in 2014, we had no idea what the next 12.5 hours and 22kms had in store. Little did we know that an innocuous photograph I took of Tommy at the trailhead would be the saviour of our day and give us a memorable and peaceful hour alone at Norway’s magnificent Trolls Tongue....

June 2012

The Lares Trail, Peru

What are you up to for you off-season Brownie?....... Vegas again?” This was the start of a new direction with my downtime from rugby. I was sick to my teeth of going to the same places every year, America, NYC, Vegas, etc…. I knew deep down these weren't wearing I really wanted to be, they weren’t feeding me in any way anymore, so I made a change. If I want to go experience the world, I’m going to go and I’m not letting anything get in my way, especially the fact that I’ll be alone. “So where do you really want to go and experience then?” …… Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail! Some google searching and phone calls to some tour operators show up all the trekking permits for the Inca Trail are sold out…. ‘However there’s an alternative sir, it’s called The Lares Trail but it’s longer and goes over higher passes than The Inca Trail’ “Sign me up”...

1991 - Ongoing

Travel to Every Country in the World - 63/196

I’ve always been a curious person. I have also always been fascinated by the world since my Dad took me to London to visit his brother when I was 10 or 11. I remember it smelt different and things like roads and signs were kind of different. I still map like that now in my head, smell, sight and light (added later) This is a lifetime goal. I’m in no rush. I respect the act of travelling too much and what it has given me, to accelerate the process just for a label. I have a rule that I must spend a minimum of at least two weeks in a country if it’s of real interest to me. Two weeks in Liechtenstein would be akin to some cruel form of torture but two weeks in Iran or Ethiopia would leave you wanting so much more, for example....

It’s Not over

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