Former Worth pupil James Thompson has spoken about how challenges he undertook at Worth inspired him to spend four and a half months walking 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail.
After leaving Worth in 2015, James studied Geography at Liverpool University and went on to become a chartered accountant in Chichester. But his recent adventure found him hiking through deserts, mountain ranges, forests, vast meadows, burn zones, fording through river crossings, dodging wild fires, cowboy camping under the stars and sheltering from lightning storms.
James, who was in Chapman House, said: “I set out from the US-Mexican border on 29 April with only essentials in my ultra-lightweight backpack. The trail takes you through small settlements every few hundred miles, meaning it can be up to nine days before the next resupply.”
James was lucky enough to encounter black bears, mountain lions and bald eagles along the way. He recalled: “Every section of the trail was beautiful and challenging in its own way, with the highlight always being the local ‘Trail Angels’ giving out support, and most importantly, cold beer to hikers. I became part of a great thru-hiking community, consisting of people from all walks of life, each looking after one another, something that reminded me of Worth’s ethos. I can confidently say I made friends for life.
“Walking 25 miles every day takes its toll on the body, but it is well worth the feeling of elation once you see the monument at the Canadian border which you have been dreaming about since mile one.”
James took part in a channel swim while at Worth. He said: “The channel swim which I participated in was a big influence in inspiring me to undertake huge challenges. It helped show me that these type of challenges are actually achievable. DofE Gold also helped nurture my enjoyment of the outdoors. There was also a great sense of community on the trail, something that reminded me of the ethos Worth tried to promote.”
Now back working in London, James is already dreaming of his next adventure – perhaps thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail or the Te Araroa in New Zealand.
Worth Society is the School’s thriving alumni association that enables former pupils and staff to stay in touch with one another for business and social networking purposes, providing careers advice, support and lifelong guidance.