Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Interview Tuesday: Huw Miles

The fourth Exceed Possibility Interview is now here; Today i've been lucky enough to interview Huw Miles who is a guide and experienced Adventurer who now runs his own Adventure company. Huw has undertaken challenges across the world and holds various outdoor qualifications; he's done everything from climbing mountains to world first river descents. 

Huw is currently seeking Sponsorship for his upcoming ground breaking Expedition; find out more about it further on in the piece and if you're interested in getting involved in backing the great adventure then please e-mail Huw on huw@milesawayltd.com

Huw Miles River Boarding

1) How did you get in to the adventure and outdoor pursuits world; where did it start?

I started in a similar way to alot of people. I stumbled into a job in outdoor education during my placement year at uni and never looked back. I was a round peg in a round hole I guess. I finished my first season with life long friends and a clear idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I went back to uni to finish off my degree, wrote a dissertation about risk management in the outdoors, worked another season to save some money and set off on my travels. I found myself in the adventure capital of the world - Queenstown, New Zealand - where I worked as a climbing and via ferrata guide and, more significantly, as a riverboarding guide. I guided on the river for a couple of years, helped train new guides, mentored a couple too, and helped set up and run the first national governing body for riverboarding in the world. When I finished I was voted senior guide of the year and then I started to make my long way back to the UK. I surfed, mountain biked, trekked and riverboarded through South America on the way home. It's been a whirlwind of a career this far, the difficulty has always been trying to top the last season!

2) What do you do now - what career path are you following?

Now I'm back in the UK I work as a freelance Expedition Leader, a Whitewater Guide and as an Outdoors Instructor. I've also started my own business this year (Miles Away) - putting together and running my own unique and challenging expedtions to some of the best natural playgrounds in the world.

3) What attracted you to challenge yourself in so many different ways, from river boarding to cycling?

I think I've always had a wonderlust in me so travel and adventure has been part and parcel of who I am. I think in terms of the challenges - I found that working in the outdoors has helped me see that I am capable of achieving alot more than I was aware. I was afraid of heights when I started out! I get a real kick out of finding out what else I might be able to do, I guess I've never known when to stop!

4) You're next big adventure is to Nepal, tell us a bit about it. What is it? Who is it with?

The next big one is a riverboarding expedition to Nepal. The aim is for the team and I to navigate 280km of the Sun Kosi and Tamur Rivers. It's pretty ambitious given the size of the whitewater out there. It's a committing trip, not like a Disney ride where you can get off if it gets a bit too bumpy. Expedition sized rafts have been known to be swallowed up and spat out by some of these waves so the crew and I will have to be on top of our game to get through it all in one piece! I'm very very lucky to have such a great team with me - mostly made up of ex guides from New Zealand with decades of combined experience. Four nationalities will be representing and, having worked with them either directly as collegues on the river or with the New Zealand Whitewater Boarding Association, I know them to all be world class riverboarders - which is a relief as we will all be watching each others backs!

Huw doesn't just spend his time in Rivers!

5) What attracted you to Nepal more than any other country?

For me Nepal is a sort of pilgramage. It is home to the Himalayas, the melt waters of which give birth to these epic rivers - our river, the Sun Kosi, is fed by Mt Everest. Nepal has been the epicentre of ground breaking expeditions since the golden age of exploration. When I think about the footsteps we will be following, the great adventurers, mountaineers, kayakers and pioneers it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! It's the greatest playground on Earth. Geographical perfection. Having worked in Nepal I know the people and guides out there to be amazing people too. We are lucky to have put together a great support crew out there too.

6) What's been your toughest challenge to date, will Nepal be tougher?

I guess the toughest thing I've done to date is either climbing Kilimanjaro twice - back to back - in October this year or the first riverboarding descents I ran in Ecuador in 2009. Although the Ecuador trip wasn't as physically demanding as Kili, they were solo and unsupported at times so mentally very tough. Simply training to become a Riverboarding Guide was one of the toughest things I've done still I think...

7) What's the plan for the next 5 years?

Well I would really like to see my business succeed. I try every year to top the previous so who knows where I will be in five years time. My only limit is my imagination. I'd love to have a hand in growing the sport of riverboarding in the UK too - and help as many people as possible discover their gnarly side - hopefully with Miles Away Ltd - ha ha!!

8) Is there one adventure or challenge in particular you dream of completing some time in the future?

Well my To Do List is forever growing but does include leading an expedition to Mera Peak, in The Himalayas, in 2012. Mera is 6,400 (and something!) metres which is pretty high but there are also alot of great rivers out there that I would love to run - the Futulafu, the Zambezi, the Nile, and the Colorado River. There are plenty of adventures closer to home too - I'd love to get to know The Alps better. Hard to pin it down to just one!

Huw Miles successfully guides clients to the Roof of Africa

Thanks to Huw Miles for an awesome interview. Check out his website at http://www.milesawayltd.com/ and if you're interested in sponsoring his upcoming Expedition to Nepal please e-mail huw@milesawayltd.com.

If you're interested in being Interviewed and publicising your website or upcoming expeditions then please contact me! I hope everyone enjoyed the Interview, be sure to check out the previous chats with adventurers on the Interview Page. Enjoy!

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