Ashley Watson's Spirit of Adventure
Meet Ashley Watson, a Vango blogger, clothing designer, motorbike enthusiast and skilled photographer.
What makes your expedition different to others?
Western Europe is one of the most densely populated parts of the world. Living in the UK, I often pass by things that are truly remarkable but do not give them the recognition they deserve. As an example, I recently took a picture in Glencoe Scotland that made a friend who was trekking in Patagonia contact me to ask where I was in the world. Trips to far flung places are always inspiring, however for many they are simply inaccessible. I am interested in looking at what’s on our doorstep and documenting it in a way that inspires people to get out and see what they may have previously overlooked.
The popularity of motorcycle expeditions are increasing rapidly reliable, hardwearing equipment is essential on these trips.
What is your greatest adventure?
My greatest adventure was being a ‘yardsman’ in the Tall ships Race. Sailing across the Bay of Biscay, my job was to climb the mast - setting the sails in all weathers, day and night. One moment a hundred feet above a pitching deck, the next, clinging to a rope as I looked down into a cold, rolling ocean.
Tell us about your experiance so far.
Well week ago today, I embarked on a 4000-mile solo motorcycle expedition around Europe.
Leaving London, I journeyed South along the West-Coast of France, climbing over the Pyrenees before cutting through the arid center of Spain, riding for the Portuguese Coast. Currently I am several hours ride inland from Porto, high in the Serra da Estrela national park.
From here the route will turn North, following the Atlantic coastline to meet the Bay of Biscay before venturing East across Northern Spain and then travelling back along the length of the Pyrenees.
The final stage of the expedition runs across Southern France and into Italy. Exploring the Alps before dropping down into Northern Europe, crossing the Channel to be welcomed home by the White Cliffs of Dover.
Travelling alone and living off the back of the bike, the aim is to escape distraction, search for beautiful untouched landscapes and find a rhythm in time with the changing terrain.
Throughout the trip, I will be putting a number of our latest developments through their paces, namely the Eversholt Jacket – my new take on a motorcycle jacket.
I knew that I would be camping in a desert, high in the mountains and in a forest and so the equipment selected for this expedition was chosen for size, weight and most importantly - its ability to adapt to a number of terrains. On a road trip of this sort, it may not always be possible to put pegs into the ground and so the freestanding Mistral 200 was a perfect fit. I grew up using a Trangia stoves on camping trips and so, this highly effective stove was my first choice.
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