Join us on Saturday for adventure inspiration

Anna McNuff

Enjoy a day packed full of adventure stories. Relax and refuel while you listen to tales of adventure and feel inspired for your next challenge.

David Love

David  Love is an adventurer,  mountaineer,  expedition  leader and Ordnance  Survey  Get Outside  Champ.  An  Officer  in  the  British  Army  officer  and  instructor  with  the  Bear Grylls  Survival  Academy,  David  made  a  solo,  unguided  ascent  of  Mt  Blanc  aged  18 and  has  since  climbed  some  of  the  world’s  most  iconic  peaks,  including  the Matterhorn and  the  Eiger.  In  2017,  he  made  the  first  recorded  solo,  winter  traverse  of theTransylvanian  Alps;  a  journey  that  involved  permanent  sub-zero  temperatures, several  nights  in  an  emergency  snow  hole  and  a  very  close  encounter  with  a mountain  bear.  His  true  passion,  however,  is  rooted  in  the  hills  and  mountains  of  the Great  Britain,  where  he  spends  much  of  his  time  working  with  young  people  with  the aim  of  inspiring  the  next  generation  to  discover  their  own  spirit  of  adventure.


Mel Nichols

Mel  Nichols is a Paralympian,  endurance  wheelchair  racer,  paracyclist and OS Get Outside Champion. Having  represented  Great  Britain  at  both  the  London  2012  and  Rio  2016 Games,  Mel  recently  nailed  the  London  Marathon  in  under  two  hours,  crossing  the line as  the  second  British  woman  home.  Now  she  has  her  sights  set  on  Tokyo  2020. Mel’s training  ground  ranges  from  the  lanes  and  hills  of  her  Cotswolds  home,  along  the coastal  climbs  of  southern  England  and  Wales,  right  up  to  the  mountain  passes  of  the Scottish Isles.  

With  her  travelling  basecamp  'Luna',  Mel  combines  determination  and  passion  for  her sports  career  with  her  love  of  the  great  outdoors  and  the  wilds  of  the  UK.  When  not training,  Mel  can  be  found  bikepacking,  sea  swimming,  kayaking,  climbing,  exploring, and finding  any  which  way  to  climb  a  hill  or  achieve  her  adventure.  She's  also  a supporter  of  I'mPossible,  and  last  year  Mel  launched  Beyond  Barriers,  a  health  and well-being  campaign  that  aims  to  encourage  and  support  people  facing  challenges  - including  disability,  physical  and  mental  health,  confidence  concerns  and  gender  issues  –  to  get  outside  and  move  beyond  the  barriers.  

'As  a  female  role-model  I  hope  to  empower  girls  and  women  to  take  that  hike,  get on their  bikes,  take  on  that  challenge  outdoors,  to  share  openly  how  being  outside  and feeling  good  helps  take  care  of  mental  health.' 

Damian Hall

Damian  Hall is an outdoor  journalist, record-breaking ultramarathon  runner and inov8 athlete. Despite  having  only  started  running  five  years  ago,  Damian  has represented Great  Britain at  the International  Trail  Running Championships, placed on the podium  at  the  Spine  Race,  the  Dragon's  Back  Race  (5th  OA),  the  UK  Ultra  Trail Championships,12th  at  UTMB  2017  and  won  the  Ice  Ultra  in  2018.  

In  2016  he set  a  Fastest  Known  Time  (FKT)  on  Britain's  longest  National  Trail, completing  the  630-mile South West Coast Path  in  10  days  and  15  hours.

At  Top of the Gorge festival, Damian  will  be  speaking  about  his  life  on  the  hoof in a talk entitled:  'A  midlife  crisis,  a  toilet  and  the  power  sob:  what  running  long  distances  has taught  me  about  life,  the  universe  and  everything'.


Elise Downing

From  a  near  standing  start,  Elise  started  running in January  2013, on the back  of  a New Year's  resolution  to  run  a  half  marathon and  soon  started  to  wonder  just  how  far  her legs  could  take  her.  On  1  November  2015  she  set  off  to  run  a  lap  of  the  British coast  in  an  attempt  to  find  out. 301  days  later, she returned  to  Greenwich, having  run  5000  miles  self-supported,  carrying  all  her  kit  on  her  back. She  is  the  youngest person and  only  female  to  have  completed  the  challenge. This adventure however, wasn't  about mile  splits  or  Garmin  stats.  It  wasn't  about  being  the  fastest  or  the  most  athletic.  It was  about  using  running  as  a  mode  of  transport  by  which  to  really  explore  both  her home  country  and  her  own  capabilities.  The  end  result  was  a  great  big  British adventure,  featuring  a  lot  of  cake  and  a  terrible  fear  of  cows.  Come  and  hear  Elise talk  about  her  continuing  adventures  at  the  Top  of  the  Gorge  festival. 


Dwayne Fields

Presenter, naturalist, adventurer, explorer, OS Get Outside Champion. Born in Jamaica, Dwayne came to the UK aged six. His formative years were spent in inner-city London where, caught up in the world of street gangs, he became a victim of both knife and gun crime.

After a life-threatening incident he made the decision to change his life and embarked on a course that reawakened a love of nature and wildlife he recalled from his early life in the forests and hilltops of Jamaica.

In 2010, Dwayne successfully completed the first of many challenges: becoming the first black Briton to walk over 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole. On his return he was invited to Buckingham Palace, joining other polar explorers and adventurers at a reception to mark the centenary of Scott's expedition to the South Pole.

Since then he has embraced a life full of adventure, en route actively engaging with and inspiring many kids from various backgrounds to explore the outdoors.

Dwayne has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his work with young people, and his mission continues as he attempts to engage citybound youth with the countryside.

At the Top of the Gorge, Dwayne will do a talk about his journey to be different covering his life leading up to and including the expedition to the North Pole.


Anna Mcnuff 

Recently named as the first ever UK Ambassador for the Girlguide movement, Anna McNuff is a former GB rower. These days Anna is a full-time endurance athlete, adventurer and mischief-maker.  

In  the  last  few  years  she  has  cycled  11,000  miles  across  the  US,  ascended over 100,000  metres  (more  than  11  times  the  height  of  Everest)  while  pedaling  along  the spine  of  the  Andes  in  South  America,  run  New  Zealand's  3,057km  Te  Araroa  trail, and legged  it  along  England's  Jurassic  Coast  dressed  as  a  dinosaur.

Dave Cornthwaite

Introducing our headline speaker for Saturday night of Top of the Gorge festival, Dave Cornthwaite. Dave leads his ‘Yes Tribe’, an adventure cult of 5000 members.

His ongoing project is ‘Expedition 1000’ is an epic quest to complete 25 journeys of 1000 miles or more by non-motorised means. This quest has seen him conquer many a challenge, which included skateboarding across Australia, swimming the length of the Missouri river and riding his scooter across Japan. Join Dave on Friday and Saturday, he’ll be leading talks and workshops.

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