Henry Pemberton (24) gave an exhilarating presentation to the Lower 6th Environmental Systems IB students. Having completed University at Edinburgh, Henry chose an unconventional direction to post-university life. He bought a steel touring bicycle and set off from the UK with some clothes, a GoPro, a SPOT GPS tracker, a petrol stove, solar charger and a bank card with the aim to follow the Silk route across Eurasia, via the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The route took him through Western Europe to the Balkans and Turkey into Georgia before crossing the Caspian Sea on a cargo ship. He encountered the Golden Eagle bound deserts of Kazakhstan, the untouched and stunningly beautiful lands of Kyrgyzstan and stayed at the Giant Panda Conservation Centre in their natural habitat of bamboo jungle in Wolong, China. Henry encountered different climates, languages and religions and enjoyed unbridled hospitality and generosity of families he met and friends he made along the way including his 'pit crew' who re-spoked his bike wheel in Morocco for £5. Although Henry did the majority of the journey alone he made new friends including two French cyclists who were travelling from Paris to Shanghai as part of their first year at University. His bicycle, named the Camel and his squeaky turtle horn Diplomatic Dave were his two companions along with his iPod and two thousand songs, played two thousand times. Henry showed many slides to bring the realities of the journey to life including cycling the 1400 kilometre Taklamakan desert, being shown an Isle of Man TT helmet by a local motorcyclist outside Lanzhou in central China and staying in a Tibetan monastery. Henry's journey concluded through Vietnam, Laos and Thailand ending in Bangkok and a family reunion. The journey took 10 months, covered 13,000 miles, and crossed 24 countries all on a budget of just £1.50 per day! Henry's talk was inspirational, telling the students 'If you can cycle for one mile then you can do this!'
Madeleine Westall, Head of ESS