15th Feb, 2019

Harry ready for challenge of rivers and tigers

Rob George 9th Feb, 2019

A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student will be making a splash after being chosen as one of seven members of the British kayaking expedition team.

Extreme white water kayaker Harry Turner will be joining the British University Kayak Expedition venturing to the Russian Far East to take on some of its most challenging waters.

The 21-year-old from Bridgnorth, who is in the third year of his outdoor adventure leadership and management degree, is the only student to be selected from a university in England.

The expedition takes place every two years and all students at British universities can apply. Harry, a grade five kayaker who also raced nationally in mountain biking, was one of 20 selected to take part in rigorous trials, from which he made the seven-strong team.

The team will spend up to two months paddling on areas that have not been explored before. The kayakers will start in the Sikhote-Alin Mountain Range, then venture west towards Lake Baikal and the Sayan Mountains and then on to the Altai Mountain Range.

Their aim is to map the best routes and produce a guide for other kayakers venturing to that area on how to navigate different stretches of the water and their level of difficulty.

“It will definitely improve my skills because it will be different types of water,” he said.

“In addition to improving my personal kayaking skills, we will have to take on unknown waters and face potential issues of getting to and from the rivers due to the lack of roads in the mountains we are exploring – along with the added dangers of Siberian Tigers that live in the Sikhote-Alin Mountains.”

Harry took up kayaking after having a go on a family holiday aged 12-years-old. On his return he joined the Bridgnorth Canoe Club, where he is still a member today. He has spent the past two summers as an assistant guide for kayaking holidays in Austria and Slovenia.

“A lot of the reason I do it is the adrenaline rush it gives you, but also the places it takes you. I love being outdoors and the scenery in places like Scotland is beautiful,” Harry said.

“There’s also so much variety; I can throw myself off a 10-metre waterfall or have rivers in Austria that have huge amounts of volume creating car-sized waves.

“And it’s not just about power; knowledge of the river and how it works, how the water moves and where to put your paddle in and being fast are key.”

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