The 1997 Coppermine River Expedition

For the first time the Royal Geographic Society has approved an expedition made up equally of able bodied and disabled participants. The team will paddle 370 miles through the near arctic conditions of Canada's North West Territory. All team members will work on an equal basis.

July 25th sees the team of :-

  • Edward Basset, outdoor activity instructor
  • Alistair Hodgson, double leg amputee, ex Para and off road driving enthusiast
  • Suresh Paul, design engineer, specialising in outdoor adventure equipment for disabled
  • Dale Rennard, design student and BCU instructor
  • Darren Swift, double leg amputee and disability access advisor
  • Steve Heynes, single leg amputee and serving member of HM forces

leaving Britain to embark on a five week exploration of the Coppermine River. The team faces white-water and wide, wind swept lakes, completely isolated for at least five weeks. The team will not have any form of back-up and the region they will travel has no settlements, the North West Territory is still one of the wildest places on Earth.

The six team members have been training for the trip for two years. As well as having the determination to face the biggest challenge of their lives, they will be working to prove that disabled people can be integrated into mainstream outdoor activities, from day trips to full expeditions.

Edward Bassett said "this trip would be a challenge to a fully able bodied team; the winds can be so strong you can't paddle. Also it was important to choose a really difficult river so that no one could accuse us of taking the easy option because of the disabled team members."

"Through ignorance or prejudice, disabled people are often denied the basic right to contribute to society, expedition opportunities for disabled people are few and far between, and most do not allow all the participants to play an integral role. The 1997 Coppermine River Expedition plans to challenge this."

We hope to bring you more news soon.