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THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30 2016


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Going to extremes


The places Richard stopped off at along the way: First, The Teifi Pools


Richard Parks: Pushing himself to the limit FORMER Welsh rugby


international Richard Parks is well used to pushing himself to the limit. As an extreme environment


athlete, Richard spends his life taking on expeditions and challenges that push the boundaries of human performance, applying his ground- breaking projects to add value to our world through science, industry and education. He first made history in 2011,


when he became the first ever person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents and stand on all three poles (the North Pole, the South Pole and the summit of Everest) within the same calendar year, completing this world first expedition named The 737 Challenge in under seven months.


Second: Cors Caron In 2014, Richard then became the


fastest Briton in history to ski solo, unsupported and unassisted, from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, taking nine days off the previous British record and becoming the first Welshman to complete this iconic feat. On Monday on BBC Wales, in the


last part of his series Extreme Wales with Richard Parks, Richard took on an altogether more ‘local’ challenge, navigating the length of the Teifi from its source near the Teifi Pools to Cemaes Head, both on foot and by kayak. Despite being only 75 miles in length, the Teifi crosses some of the most rugged and challenging tracks and waterways in Wales. “Even the smallest adventure


can be life-changing,” says Richard. “I’m passionate about sharing Wales


and sharing the spirit of adventure. I’ve represented Wales on the rugby field and carried my Welsh flag all around the globe, and coming home to perform is a privilege. We’re blessed to have this on our doorstep. “Adventure will mean different


things to each of us,” says Richard, “yet, at its core, it’s about stepping outside of our comfort zone and beginning a journey of discovery. “For this episode, my adventure


was not just discovering the Teifi, but also learning how to kayak along the way. This was the most challenging of the episodes, but also the most rewarding too. Life’s wonderful like that!” In a three-day exploration of the


Third: Llandysul


waterway, Richard started by running through the Teifi Pools in the Cambrian Mountains, crossing the high peat bog at Cors Caron, before picking up his paddles for the first time. Before long, he’s tackling the


largest and most technical rapids on the river at Cenarth. One of the people he meets is


14-year-old Etienne Chappell. Etienne says he’s ‘never been the best-behaved kid in class’, but he’s being trained up for a future Olympic games, and tells Parks not only how to navigate a tricky slalom course, but also explains how kayaking has given him a better attitude towards school. Richard says: “The Teifi was wonderful. Learning to kayak was


Fourth: Cenarth Falls


a predictably enjoyable adventure - because it was challenging! It’s enriched my life, as I am now planning more adventures on the water. But seeing how the Teifi itself has enriched so many communities and people was truly heart-warming and wonderful.” Richard’s first book, Beyond the


Horizon, won the Cross British Sports Book of the Year 2015 for best rugby book. Richard is also a board member


of Sport Wales – the national organisation responsible for increasing participation and improving elite performance. Extreme Wales with Richard


Parks is available on catch up TV and i-Player.


Fifth: Cilgerran Gorge


Sixth: Cemaes Head and Poppit Sands


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