Welsh explorer becomes ‘first person to walk China’s Yangtze River’

A man from North Wales has claimed to be the first person to complete a 4,000 mile expedition on foot along China’s Yangtze River.

Ash Dykes from Old Colwyn said he has experienced altitudes of more than 17,000 ft and temperatures as low as minus 20C.

He said it was “an unreal feeling to cross the finish line.”

It took two years to plan and one year to execute, so it’ll take a while to sink in. But it’s such a special moment – history is created.


Mr Dykes said other members of the team had to drop out before the expedition started because the “source of the Yangtze River was so difficult to reach.”

He said there was also a “risk of being attacked by wolves and bears.”

In the early stages of the journey he said he was followed for two days “by a pack of wolves.”

Despite going solo at the beginning, he met up with other walkers later on in the journey who accompanied him on his expedition.

This has been more than a personal achievement; it is unlocking human potential and showcasing that, in a world where every corner of the planet is occupied by people, there are still things that haven’t been done.


As well as a physical challenge, Mr Dykes has used the expedition to highlight conservation projects by organisations including the World Wildlife Fund and the Green Development Fund.

He recorded the amount of plastic and pollution which he saw along the route.

People are aware of the damage being caused to their water sources and are now actively changing their ways for the better – it’s inspiring to see.


In 2014, Mr Dykes became the first person recorded to walk across Mongolia from west to east in an unsupported solo expedition which took 78 days.

He also became the first person to travel across the length of inland Madagascar, trekking 1,600 miles over eight mountains in 155 days in 2016.

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