The Stretch enrichment programme kicked off the academic year with an inspirational talk to the whole school by adventurer Tori James, the only female team member of the Beeline Britain challenge.
In 2014 the Beeline Britain challenge
(www.beelinebritain.com) involved completing the first ever straight-line journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats, a total of 1,100km. The Beeline Britain team of four, supported by Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund, kayaked, cycled, mountain-biked and hiked their way across the UK, completing two record breaking sea crossings on route, including the longest open sea kayak crossing in UK waters: 34 hours of non-stop kayaking over 200km. The team included a serving RAF Aircrew, a retired Army Captain and Team GB Paralympian, a professional kayak coach and Tori.
Tori (centre) with sixth form students
At the age of 25, Tori became the first Welsh woman to climb Mount Everest and a BBC documentary On Top of the World was produced about her expedition. She is also the author of Peak Performance which describes her record-breaking climb to the summit on 24 May 2007.
After gaining a degree in Geography from Royal Holloway, University of London, Tori secured her
dream first job working for British Exploring, a charity founded by a member of Scott’s Antarctic
expedition 1910-1913. In 2005 she was a member of the Pink Lady PoleCats, the first all-female
team to complete The Polar Challenge, a gruelling 360 mile race to the Magnetic North Pole. In
2010 Tori cycled the length of New Zealand, a total of 2400km, unsupported from north to south.
The St Swithun's Stretch enrichment programme consists of taught short courses and lectures from visiting speakers. Courses are wide-ranging and topics such as magic and mathematics, biblical Hebrew, cryptic crosswords and French cinema.