John Blashford-Snell, one of the world’s most renowned and respected explorers, has lead over one hundred expeditions to remote corners of the globe. Fascinated by early civilisations he has explored the sites of ancient harbours off Cyprus and Libya, discovered forgotten settlements in the jungles of South America and deep in the Kalahari and Sahara deserts. Leading the first expedition to descend the fearsome rapids of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia he developed inflatable boats that revolutionised river exploration.


He made the first vehicle crossing of the complete Darien Gap, and navigating almost all 2,700 miles of the Congo River, the last two having important environmental, medical and scientific objectives.


In the past decade John has tested the theories of the late Dr Thor Heyerdahl using traditional reed boats to show how ancient people could navigate the rivers of South America and voyage around the world. In Nepal his teams have discovered giant “mammoth like” elephants.


In 1969 he and his colleagues formed the Scientific Exploration Society, which became the parent body for several worldwide ventures with the support and involvement of the Prince of Wales. He then raised funds and selected a team to run Operation Drake taking 400 young men and women on a circumnavigation which caught the public imagination. As a result of the success of this venture, The Fairbridge Drake Society was formed to help disadvantaged young people. Ultimately a much larger global youth programme was organised and in 1984, Operation Raleigh was formed. By 1992 it had enabled 10,000 young people from 50 nations to take part in challenges and expeditions. It continues today as Raleigh International.


Although he retired from the Army and as Director-General of Operation Raleigh in 1991, Colonel Blashford-Snell’s commitment to young people is as strong as ever.  In 1993 he became Chairman of a £2.5 million appeal to establish a centre to provide vocational training and guidance for the young of Merseyside, he is also a Patron of the Moorlands Community Development in Brixton and he assisted the Liverpool John Moores University appeal for a new Art and Design Centre. He also assists The Trinity Sailing Trust, dedicated to aiding the personal development of disadvantaged and disabled young people through offshore sea training on traditional sailing vessels. 


John is also President of the Just a Drop charity providing drinking water for remote communities and helping with sanitation projects.


His expeditions to far-flung corners of the globe have done much to help people, fauna, flora and the environment. He continues to organise these with international teams of volunteers aged 18-80. At the same time he raises large sums of money for a variety of worthy causes.


The Colonel’s work has been recognised by the award in 1974 of the Segrave Trophy, the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (1975), the Patrons Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (1993) and the Gold Medal of the Institute of Royal Engineers (1994). He also holds honorary doctorates from Durham and Bournemouth Universities.


And if all this were not enough to more than fill a life-time, John Blashford-Snell has written over 15 books and is a broadcaster and lecturer and continues to lead expeditions worldwide. He is currently planning expeditions to some of the least known corners of the world concentrating on archaeological, geological, environmental, medical and wildlife projects.