Adventurer from Newport awarded 'Explorer of the Year'

An explorer from Newport has joined big names Jane Goodall and Steve Backshall in winning a national award for his conservation and exploration efforts.

Chaz Powell with his 'Explorer of the Year' award
Chaz Powell with his 'Explorer of the Year' award

Chaz Powell was born in Shrewsbury and grew up in Newport, where he attended the Burton Borough School.

The 41 year-old has since gone on to reach new heights – literally – as he travelled the world extensively since leaving school, concentrating his efforts on promoting wildlife conservation as he makes his way across the globe.

This year, Chaz has been awarded the 'Explorer of the Year 2021' title from the Scientific Exploration Society.

"It's such an overwhelming honour to have received this and to be honest it's left me quite shocked," Chaz said.

"Last year's winner was Steve Backshall and the list of other potential winners was overwhelming and massive.

Chaz Powell

"So to have been told I was unanimously voted to receive this, was so shocking and humbling. I'm so very happy."

Chaz has built his explorer credentials over the last 17 years – from early days, back-packing on a shoe-string budget around the world, to self-supported Arctic camping in Norway to photograph the Northern Lights, to more ambitious technical crossings of the volcanic sweeping peaks of La Palma.

As he has developed his skills, he also developed a passion for conservation.

In 2016-17, he graduated to a more ambitious project. Chaz spent 137 days walking over 3000km from source to sea along Africa’s wildest river, the Zambezi.

From this journey, he developed his ongoing project ‘The Wildest Journey’ – his aim is to walk the length of classic rivers by foot, to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching.

Chaz Powell

And on his journeys, he aims to raise funds to support these goals. In 2019, he completed his Footsteps of the Gambia – over three months (January to March 2019), Chaz and friend Tim Roberts walked from source to sea along the Gambia River in Western Africa. For 47 days they covered around 1200km by foot whilst walking through Guinea Conakry, Senegal and The Gambia, becoming the first people in known history to do so.

As well as his own exploration, Chaz also runs expeditions, taking groups on treks along the length of the UK’s longest rivers and National Parks. His UK expeditions focus on expedition and survival skills in mountain, river and forest-based environments.

He said: "I've been travelling for 17 years. I received the news about the award on email, and I had to just keep re-reading it.

"There are really big names and then Chaz Powell from Newport, it's crazy."

Whilst not out on his various adventures, Chaz lives on a remote plot of land in the North of Scotland. He chooses to live off the land in an as wild and sustainable way as can be.

Visit www.thewildestjourney.com to see what he's up to.

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