Meet the Team
The Ultimate Travel Company's Challenge Team have been running events for over 15 years, offering charity and corporate groups inspired adventure treks, cycle rides, horse treks and multi-activity trips all over the world.
Our London office team have worked both as charity fundraisers and challenge operators and have a vast wealth of experience in successful event management backed by the long established Ultimate Travel Company. Our team of UK expedition leaders include Everest conquerers and World Record holders. Our expedition doctors are specially selected for their expedition experience and medical knowledge whilst all of our in country guides have UK certified first aid training, or equivalent, as well as their national guiding qualifications.
For more information on the team, itineraries or any aspect of our challenge events please contact us on 020 3642 9830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rowan Paterson - Director
Rowan spent the early 1980’s in the Nepal and India Himalaya leading treks, river trips and fishing tours for Tiger Mountain, before returning to the UK to work at their London office (ExplorAsia) with Nick Van Gruisen.
In 1991, Rowan and Nick founded Worldwide Journeys and Expeditions and grew it into one of the UK's most successful adventure travel companies, before merging with The Ultimate Travel Company in 2003.
The company's involvement with charity challenge events began in 1997 when Rowan organised and led a trek in the High Atlas of Morocco for a group of 80 trekkers raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Jennie Griffin - Assistant Director and Expedition Leader
Jennie has been involved in the world of overseas charity challenges since 1996. She started out as an Events Fundraiser with the charity Scope, where she worked for over 6 years developing an extensive range of overseas challenges and giving her in-depth knowledge and understanding of charity events.
Jen joined Ultimate Travel in 2001 to help grow the charity challenge side of the business, now known as Ultimate Challenges. Her passion for overseas adventure keeps her enthusiasm high and she loves developing new events to inspire people to take on a new challenge.
Her main love is mountain biking and when not leading trips overseas can be found riding the single track of the North Downs and looking after the day to day management of our charity clients.
Lisa Russell - Assistant Director and Expedition Leader
Lisa joined The Spastic Society in 1993 (now Scope) organising community based fundraising events where in 1996, she progressed to develop, market and organise challenge events for the charity. In 2000 she emigrated to Australia to set up challenge events in Sydney for their sister charity. When she returned she moved to VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) to set up their challenge event programme before coming to The Ultimate Travel Company in 2005.
With over 15 years experience of the charity challenge market, she is as enthusiastic today as she was in her early 20’s and this comes across everyday, whether its on the day to day operation side in the office, or whether she’s out in the field, Lisa always ensures every trip is not only a successful event for the charity, but also that it’s a life-changing experience for everyone who takes part.
Caroline Jennings - Expedition Coordinator
Caroline joined the British Lung Foundation in 2006 managing the community and challenge events programme, two years later she took a year out to do a ski season in the French Alps and a 3 month windsurfing instructors course in Australia. On returning from Australia Caroline joined the male cancer charity Orchid for over three years where she managed and grew the events programme ranging from sporting, challenge and special events. During her time in the charity sector she has created, launched and managed some new and exciting challenge events and looks forward to bringing her experience to The Ultimate Travel Company. Caroline’s passion in the winter is skiing and throughout the summer can be found taking part in triathlons and aims to complete her first Olympic triathlon next year.
Stephanie Ainsworth - Assistant Expedition Coordinator
After graduating from Guildford School of Acting in 2001, Stephanie was fortunate enough to experience the delights of TV, stage and film. Alongside the acting, Stephanie has had a variety of roles ranging from, a special needs teaching assistant to co-ordinating events across the UK.
Stephanie is a keen cyclist and thoroughly enjoys gallavanting around the world! As a result, she took part in the Macmillan Cycle Challenge across Central America covering 3 countries in 8 days. Subsequently, Stephanie went on to complete a 3 month internship with Macmillan Cancer Support on their Challenge Events Team.
Stephanie joined the Ultimate Challenges team in 2011 and in that time has experienced the delights of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the breathtaking Himalayas in Nepal. As a result, Stephanie strives to make the challenge experience for the particpants just as unforgettable!
Michele Cohen - Expedition Leader
Michele has been leading treks around the world for over 10 years, including up Mount Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Mount Mera and to Everest Base Camp.
Before this she previously worked in the City and was fortunate enough to make the career change when she discovered the mountains!
Most of Michele’s spare time is spent exploring a mountain range somewhere in the world, but she’s currently trying to settle down in Vancouver, Canada.
Chris Hill - Expedition Leader
Chris has been working in the business for over 15 years including leading challenges in the Himalaya, Europe, Africa (Mount Kilimanjaro 10+), North, South & Central America and Asia.
He now lives in the US and is a member of the Washington State Mountaineers where he leads treks and volunteers as a instructor in the "mini-Himalayas" of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.
His speciality for many years now has been in high altitude work but he's still picking up new tricks - at the moment he's training to become a Mountain First Aid Instructor. Even after all these years Chris still proves to be one of the most enthusiastic leaders, he's just a little greyer than he used to be!
Richard Kirtley - Expedition Leader
Richard moved to London aged 18 to study English Language before becoming a creative copywriter and marketeer. However, his thirst for independent travel, adventure and sport has seen him visit many far-flung corners of the world.
In April 2009 Richard created and lead ‘The Everest Test’. This involved taking 50 people and 1 tonne of specialist equipment up to Mount Everest Base Camp to play an official full-format game of Twenty20 cricket. The match was played on a dried out lakebed at 5165m above sea level, adjacent to EBC. The expedition raised £200,000 for The Himalayan Trust and The Lord’s Taverners as well as setting a World Record.
The experience of seeing this project through from a daft idea to such a success sparked something in Richard. In January 2010 he went on a wilderness leadership course that saw him undertake a 6-week traverse of the Northern Ice Cap in Chile. Happily, he is now doing more expedition leading and less marketing!
Richard says: ‘The biggest buzz of leading these types of expedition is just seeing people surprise themselves’.
Dom Pickett - Expedition Leader
Dom’s history in short - Graduated Leeds Met Uni 1999 in Business Management and Ethics. After which he worked and travelled extensively in Asia and Central America for 4 years, including working in Nicaragua on various sport projects with street kids.
From this he then embarked on numerous adventures: Scotland to London marathon run, "Run Everest" Kathmandu to Base Camp, English Channel relay swim, Shelterbox Response Team earthquake in Kyrgyzstan, before joining UTC and leading trips up Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Mera Peak in Nepal, Inca Trail, and more recently Mount Toubkal.
2011 is a big year for Dom as he successfully summited Mount Everest via the North Col route on the Tibetan side!
Dr Sarah Hollis - Expedition Doctor
A GP by profession, she has specialist qualifications in Tropical Medicine, Sports Medicine and Pre-Hospital Emergency Care, having also acted as doctor for Medecin Sans Frontieres and the Langdale Mountain Rescue Team.
She has lived and worked in Africa, Iraq and the Far East, and trekked widely in many parts of the world. She is married with three boys.
Dr Stuart Burbridge - Expedition Doctor
Stuart qualified as a Doctor from Dundee University Medical School in 1999 and moved immediately to the more favourable climate of the South West.
Initially he trained as a Surgeon gaining membership of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Since then has spent time working in A&E and Radiology. He has then gone on to qualify as a GP, whilst continuing to work in acute GP care along with A&E.
Stuart is keen on all sports but especially those involving water and snow! He regularly takes part in Endurance events and Adventure races. The most notable to date being a trans-Atlantic rowing race in 2010 from the Canary Isles to Antigua. Stuart has so far been an expedition medic for UTC on Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Toubkal and bike rides in Malawi.
Dr Rob Daniels - Expedition Doctor
Rob qualified from Cambridge in 1995 and after house jobs in the UK spent the next 2 years working in Western Australia and travelling throughout South East Asia, Australia and Melanesia.
He returned to the UK in 1998 and since then has been working in East Devon as a GP. His interests include watersports, camping and trekking.
He has been on UTC trips to Mount Kilimanjaro, Venezuela and Jordan.
Dr Jenny Corser - Expedition Doctor
Jenny is an enthusiastic GP with a special interest in Expedition Medicine. Previous work includes a trauma unit in South Africa as well as remote African clinics, British Antarctic Survey unit doctor stationed 'down south' for 15 months, ships doctor for British Antarctic Survey, expeditions as medic to China, Mount Kilimanjaro and Nepal.
In addition, owing to a love for adventure and the outdoors Jenny has travelled to a variety of areas where skills have been learnt such as Arctic Norway, the Andes (Mount Cotopaxi) and the Alps. In the Alps Jenny has not only ascended various peaks such as Breithorn, Grand Paradiso and Mount Blanc, but she has also done a lot of ski touring - most recently the Haute Route.
Jenny is a team player who loves being in the outdoors and helping groups have as an amazing and safe experience as possible.
Dr Joe Davis - Expedition Doctor
Joe qualified as a Doctor in 2001 and spent several years in Emergency Medicine, with a particular interest in pre-hospital care, doing courses in remote medicine, helicopter crew course and working towards a Diploma in mountain and high altitude medicine.
In 2008 Joe saw the light and turned to General Practice - he has just re-located to work as a GP in the Lake District. This is where he grew up surrounded by mountains and lakes and spent his time mountain biking, scrambling on lakeland ridges and climbing on the crags of Borrowdale. He counts himself very lucky for being introduced to climbing, canoeing, sailing and the great outdoors at such an early age.
Joe has been an Expedition medic on trips to China, Peru, Morocco, Iceland, Brazil, Egypt, Mount Kilimanjaro and many UK challenge events. He teaches regularly on 'Expedition Medicine' courses in the Lakes and in Wales and has an interest in altitude medicine.
Dr Hilary Napier - Expedition Doctor
After years as a GP, Hilary discovered that she could combine her love of medicine with her passion for adventure travel and physical challenge!
Following an expedition medicine course in 2005 she has accompanied treks to mountains (including Mount Kilimanjaro), desert and jungle as well as challenges on horseback and cycle.
An avid off-piste skier, she qualified in 2006 as a ski guide for the Ski Club of GB and leads holidays on and off piste for the Club. Other interests include sailing, scuba, learning languages and keeping fit for challenges such at the National Three Peaks.
Dr Dave Triffit - Expedition Doctor
Dave qualified in 1992 from the London Hospital Medical College and has been on two Raleigh International expeditions – both as one of the Expedition Medic - one to Guyana in South America and the other to Belize in Central America. Dave qualified as a GP in 1997 but has done large amounts of A&E work in London and Oxford. He completed a Sports Medicine MSc in Nottingham in 1998 and remains a keen sportsman and is a regular skier, mountain biker, diver and tennis player. He does the odd triathlon and has taken up a tentative interest in road biking.
Dave has worked with us on treks in China, the Sierra Nevada, Mount Kilimanjaro and bike challenges in Kenya and Vietnam. He’s also done a conservation project with dolphins in Greece, and with sea turtles in Costa Rica. Dave also had an Art gallery in Oxford for 2 years and has always been very keen on painting, sculpture and photography. He’s planning on doing a part-time Fine Art degree in Oxford starting in 2011. He’s married and so far has one hairy daughter…