Dom is raising money for the charity Blackdog Outdoors by walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The charity recognises the importance of mental health issues and the connection to the great outdoors. Many have done this walk in the past, but did any of them drag a van’s spare tyre behind them? This is just the latest of Dom’s extreme challenges, which combine his love of adventure with his desire to raise awareness of the growing issue of the nation’s mental health.
A glance at Dom’s website reveals that he thinks of himself as an adventurer, whose motto is “Dream bigger than you ever thought possible, then go and live that dream”. He has accomplished many of his dreams over the years, starting with running an adventure company, where he had to try out every offering before his customers.
He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Mera Peak in Nepal, Denali (Mount Mackinley) in Alaska and the big one – Mount Everest. He has rafted down the Grand Canyon and trekked through the Amazon jungle and across the Gobi desert. His next outing will be The Long Tread, which starts on 15 April. This would be challenge enough for most of us but, for Dom, it is merely the first part of a much bigger plan. In November 2024, he will attempt to break the world record with a solo trek across the Antarctic to the South Pole.
The Long Tread – aiming for more
The Long Tread will form part of his training for the South Pole challenge, where he will have to drag a sledge with all his equipment. The Long Tread is a world first, involving the tyre, two million steps, a total climb of 30,000 feet and the burning of 200,000 calories.
The food he needs is carefully calculated. His baseline is 1,400 calories a day but walking 21 miles at three miles an hour with a pack burns a further 1,950. Throw the tyre into the mix plus some more calories for daily activities besides walking, and an estimate of 4,000 calories a day seems a safe bet.
The drag will take 44 days and cover 850 miles. There’s no back-up car or support team; he’ll be completely solo. His self-imposed rules also specify that he will camp and cook his own food; no B&Bs, hotels, cafes or restaurants. Planning is everything. He books campsites ten at a time, having to slightly alter his route if he finds a site that can’t accommodate him. The bonus is that one man and his tent, no car, costs very little.
Training is a big part of his preparation. The first tyre pull of three miles was back in September 2022, and in November he did 17.4 miles, the length of the first stage of the walk. By January 2023 he had managed a regular 25 miles a day.
It’s important that he does this unaided, as this replicates the conditions of his Antarctic trip, apart from the sub-zero temperatures which rarely rise above -20C in the interior of the Antarctic in the summer. And then there’s the snow of course. To get an idea of these conditions, he’s visited Norway for more training in freezing temperatures and lots of snow.
Pass it on
Dom doesn’t just do this to satisfy his thirst for a little bit of danger. He is dedicated to helping anyone achieve their goal, sharing his experiences, both good and bad, as inspiration. To the same end, he visits primary schools, complete with all his kit, to talk about his life, hoping to inspire the younger generation to be adventurous.
He’ll be sharing his experiences of The Long Tread with daily live updates on his YouTube channel Resetting your compass. His Antarctic world record attempt has also just been set up on YouTube where he will update two or three times a week “with all the ups and downs of what it takes … and the setbacks along the way as I progress.”