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Event Speakers

Will Copestake​

Will Copestake’s love of the outdoors started from an early age. Growing up in the small coastal community of Ullapool in Scotland Will spent his childhood sailing, hiking and wild-camping around the north west highlands. Will began his love of the outdoors with an obsessive interest in natural history; particularly entomology & ornithology which was encouraged by his family and local field club.

As a teenager Will’s focus grew into white-water kayaking. By bouncing, swimming and boofing through local gorges he found a love in hidden places.

At age 17 Will started working as a deckhand for a small cruise boat to the Summer Isles in addition to lifeguarding at the local swimming pool with the hope to spend his earnings on a first big adventure.

Graduating high school a year later Will embarked alone for a 10 month journey to New Zealand. Without a plan but with a backpack and boots he tried skydives, bungee jumps and blackwater rafting tours before discovering a simpler more self sufficient passion in long walks. Learning to express what he found through photography and writing Will completed 8 of the 9 great walks spanning both North & South Islands. This included an 11 day circuit around the northern coast of Stewart Island and many other additional adventures. Volunteering as a hut warden in Tongariro national park for the Department of Conservation and Wwoofing along the way helped to break a long journey into many small adventures.

Returning to Scotland Will enrolled at Stirling University for a four year major in Environmental Science and Outdoor Education. Encouraged to explore the local mountains Will met likeminded students to push himself into harsher environments away from the trails. With his closest friend Remi Mcmurtry he hiked 600km across Iceland as part of a 3 month expedition spanning a summer holiday; on a budget of £600 funded largely by selling tea on hilltops.

From may to 2013 o may 2014 Will embarked on a year long solo and self supported expedition to discover his home country. ‘The Machair to Munro’ expedition aimed to discover the culture and landscape of Scotland. Kayaking solo 1600km around the four cardinal points of the Scottish mainland starting and finishing at each border was followed by a winter round of the munro mountains (>3000ft…there are 282 of them) using a bicycle to travel between.

Lasting 364 days and covering a total of 5900km with 147000m of vertical ascent the expedition awarded will both the Scottish and National UK adventurer of the year 2015.

Will now works freelance in the outdoors leading hillwalking and kayaking journeys in Scotland and abroad. Over the winter of 2015 Will worked as an expedition kayak guide in Chilean Patagonia leading multi-day journeys along rivers and sea.

Currently Will is returning to Patagonia to work and explore over the 2016 winter with aims to return for a short expedition in Norway in the spring.

Garrett Cooper

In 2006 Garrett joined the Army as a Forward Observer and was selected by the 1-87 scout/sniper platoon with the 10th Mountain Division. After a nearly 15 month deployment to Iraq he got on his motorcycle and rode south. He rode for 7 months through Central and South America reaching Tierra del Fuego, then went north again into Brazil before flying home. He covered 21,000 miles on this trip and loved every one of them.

After returning to the States he earned his BS in Expeditionary Studies from Plattsburgh State University. Garrett has worked as an expedition medic for a dirt bike tour company in Cambodia, paddled solo in a native wooden boat down the Mekong for 12 days, paddled 600 miles with a partner through Cambodia and Vietnam teaching CPR and the Heimlich maneuver in several villages, built a balsa wood raft on the Amazon and paddled it in a multi-day race, packrafted various tributaries to the Amazon, attended a survival school in Colombia, and paddled places like Wales, Scotland, and several states all over the country. He is a Wilderness EMT, Geo Medic, Wilderness First Aid/Responder instructor, ACA level 2 river kayak instructor, BCU L1 coach, and a BCU 4 star trainee for both canoe and sea kayak.

In addition to being the owner and founder of Feral Human Expeditions, he is an adjunct professor for the Expeditionary Studies department at Plattsburgh State University where he teaches outdoor living skills, paddle sports, and wilderness medicine. Garrett also teaches Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Aid Afloat, and Wilderness First Responder classes for SOLO.

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