• Phil Packer

Professional Adventurer and Author, Tori James FRGS, joins the BRIT Ambassador family

We are delighted that Tori has joined our BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. Tori is the first Welsh woman to climb Mount Everest. She was a member of the first all-female team to ski to the Magnetic North Pole in a 360-mile polar challenge. Tori holds the record for the longest open sea kayak in UK waters which she set with the Beeline Britain team. Over the last 20 years, working in collaboration with high profile sponsors, Tori has undertaken some of the world’s most extreme endurance challenges, setting many records and achieving what most people would consider impossible. From surviving the death zone on Mount Everest to racing across frozen sea ice in the Arctic, she is not one for a quiet life. Tori is a sought-after motivational speaker, both onstage and online. She engages audiences around the world with her inspirational talks and enables people to challenge and learn about themselves in her adventure-inspired training sessions.

Tori James FRGS - At the summit of Mount Everest

Tori is encouraging students and staff at every Welsh University and College to enter teams in the annual BRIT Challenge taking place between 1st February and 3 March 2022.

“Through my appointments as a DofE Wales Ambassador and President of Girlguiding Cymru, and through my close relationships with universities in Wales, I am acutely aware that there has been an increase in young adults and students facing mental health challenges. With the additional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a critical time to provide appropriate professional support to young adults and students to ensure they do not endure long-term mental health challenges.

I am delighted that British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are delivering the annual BRIT Challenge as a feelgood February fundraiser for every Welsh university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union to enter teams and encourage student and staff participation. It’s also great to see that they have forged partnerships or special relationships with Universities Wales (through Universities UK), ColegauCymru and Sport Wales to assist with the BRIT Challenge in becoming a firm fixture in the Welsh education, sport and charity sector’s Calendar of Events. I am encouraged that the BRIT Challenge is an inclusive event to enable students and staff of all abilities to participate and add their miles to their team’s 2,022 mile target by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). I am delighted to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family to promote the BRIT Challenge, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. I urge our Welsh Olympians, Paralympians, elite athletes, adventurers and explorers to join the BRIT Ambassador family and support a university or college of their choice in order to encourage and inspire students and staff to take on the BRIT Challenge. I look forward to encouraging and supporting students and staff at Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of South Wales, Bangor University and Swansea University, as they take on their BRIT Challenge.”

Tori James FRGS

Professional Adventurer and Author

Tori James FRGS - Professional Adventurer and Author

Tori is a professional adventurer. Her 20+ years' experience of expeditions and adventure started with a youth expedition to Iceland with British Exploring. Those four weeks spent on the Vatnajokull Glacier were transformative in more ways than one and ultimately gave Tori the inspiration to take on some of the most extreme endurance challenges around the world. For some, climbing Everest is a childhood dream, but this wasn't the case for Tori. It was born out of progressively more challenging and demanding expedition experiences which began as a teenager and peaked in her early twenties. The encouragement received by her close network of adventurous friends and expedition colleagues was all she needed to fuel an inner excitement and motivation about this challenge. Tori was part of a four-strong team led by a British mountain guide, Kenton Cool. The expedition comprised an intense 18-month training schedule which tested Tori to the limit, including an ascent of the Himalayan peak Cho Oyu (8201 metres). The team sought advice from fellow climbers and engaged professional support for the physical, psychological and nutritional elements of the expedition.

On 24th May 2007, Tori became the youngest British female (at that time) aged 25 and the first Welsh woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Tori James FRGS - Crossing a ladder at the Khumbu Icefall

Tori loves being in a team. She also loves proving that anything is possible. Combine the two, and before you know it, you're trekking across the ice of the Arctic Ocean as part of an all-female team set to enter the history books. In 2005, Tori and her fellow Pink Lady Polecats took on the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge. A mere 360 miles stood between them and the kudos of being the first all-female team to complete in one of the world's toughest races. A race which involved pulling sledges across shifting sea ice in temperatures as low as -40C. In 2014, Tori joined the Beeline Britain team who became the first people to undertake the 1,100km straight line journey between Land’s End and John O’Groats. Tori and the team cycled along country roads and through major cities, hiked through valleys and over mountains and kayaked across open seas to complete the challenge. In the process, they set a record for the longest open sea kayak crossing in UK waters kayaking non-stop for 200km over 34.5 hours from Land's End to Pembrokeshire. On the way, they raised over £24k for the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association (BLESMA) and set the record for the longest open sea kayak crossing in UK waters. What's a girl to do after she's stood on the summit of the world's tallest mountain and hiked across the Arctic to plant a flag at the magnetic North Pole? Hatch a plan with a pal to cycle 2400km along the length of the land of the long white cloud (AKA New Zealand). Tori and her friend Maria Leijerstam decided to travel to the Southern Hemisphere and see the breath-taking scenery of New Zealand from the saddle. They took just 23 days to cycle from the northernmost point of the country, Cape Reinga, to Bluff in the far south.

Tori James FRGS - World renowned Keynote Speaker

As a world renowned Keynote Speaker, and with over 15 years of experience and having delivered over 400 talks, Tori provides a unique perspective on everyday business challenges, teamwork and personal ambition. She challenges conventional thinking and empowers others to achieve remarkable things. Tori also delivers courses specialising in leadership development and high-performing teams. Tori offers insightful masterclasses and multi-day training programmes. She breathes life into business themes and concepts using real-life examples from challenges in the extremes.

Tori James FRGS - President of Girlguiding Cymru and Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) Wales Ambassador

Tori lives in Wales and combines her outdoor adventuring, speaking career and training work with being a mum. Tori is also a Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) Wales Ambassador and President of Girlguiding Cymru. For more information on Tori, please visit her website. You can follow Tori on Instagram and Twitter.