Sacha Dench – known as the “Human Swan” who earned a Guinness World Records™ title for becoming the first woman to traverse the English Channel in a paramotor joined us on Day 2 of the conference, speaking about her expeditions and future plans including her ‘Flight of the Osprey’ expedition.
Sacha’s Guinness World Records™ crossing was the crowning glory towards the end of Sacha’s epic 7,000km journey from Arctic Russia to the UK as part of the ‘Flight of the Swans’ expedition. Sacha followed the long and meandering migration route of the Bewick’s Swans across 11 countries in order to raise awareness of the threats to the Bewick’s, which are declining dramatically in numbers.
The Channel crossing was made from Aeroclub du Boulonnais in France to Dover and took a total time of 1 hour 38 minutes. From Dover she flew the final leg of this mammoth journey to arrive at the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre and one of the Bewick’s primary overwintering locations – just in time for Christmas 2016.
Sacha also received the Britannia Trophy – she is the first woman to receive this prestigious aviation award in 50 years.
“This is a terrific accolade and I am grateful to Guinness World Records and all the people who supported me. The journey was arduous but uplifting in so many ways. I met so many diverse people on the route and hope that by talking to them about the Bewick’s plight I have left a legacy across the route that will galvanise individuals and organisations to continue to help. The crossing was quite emotional – when I saw the white cliffs of Dover, I knew that I had nearly done it! But just think – the journey is what each swan does at just 12 weeks old, twice a year for their entire life – it’s testament to the complexity and hardship they must endure just to survive”
Senior Editor at Guinness World Records, Adam Millward, who worked with Sacha’s team and external paragliding experts to confirm the record, said:
“We’re delighted to recognise Sacha’s incredible aviation milestone with an official GWR title. If her pioneering attitude, first-class piloting skills and total unflappability weren’t impressive enough, the fact that this entire project was centred on taking a proactive approach to conservation makes this achievement all the more commendable.
This recognition comes at a fitting time as Guinness World Records Day 2019, taking place on 14 November, is all about celebrating our amazing record-breakers’ spirit of adventure. Having recently met Sacha, I’m left in no doubt that spirit of adventure is something this conservationist has in bucketloads – with some to spare! We’ll be keeping a close eye on Sacha’s upcoming osprey odyssey in 2020. I have a distinct feeling this won’t be the last we hear of her here at GWR…”
The World Record entry can be found here.
New 10,000km 15 country paramotor flight announced
Sacha, under the umbrella of Conservation Without Borders* recently announced a new paramotor expedition to follow the migration route of ospreys from Scotland to West Africa crossing 15 countries. The magnificent osprey, a bird once common across Europe was driven to extinction in the 1800s.
The “Flight of the Osprey” expedition is an international collaboration that will investigate the threats to the osprey along their range including sampling for pollutants and plastics at critical sites – the underwater world so important to the fish-eating ospreys.
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