Serial Adventurer, Motivational Speaker and Scouting Ambassador.

James Ketchell > About James Ketchell

Adventurer, Speaker, Author

On 1st February 2014, James became the first and only person to have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully summited Mount Everest and cycled 18,000 miles around the world, in what the media dubbed ‘The Ultimate Triathlon’.

In 2019 he flew his open cockpit gyroplane over 24,000 nautical miles circumnavigating the planet in 175 days to set the first Fédération Aéronautique Internationale ratified flight around the world, for an aircraft of its type. The mission was to inspire a million young people in classrooms over the world to pursue their own goals and dreams.


It was an inauspicious start for James; in 2008 he was recovering from a serious motorcycle accident that had left him with broken legs and a severely broken and dislocated ankle. The prognosis was that he would likely suffer a permanent walking impairment and would certainly not be able to continue the active physical lifestyle he had so enjoyed.

Not all James adventures have been easy! He survived two mid ocean rescues and on one he found himself clinging to a rope ladder on the side of a 100,000-tonne oil tanker as he climbed to safety in storm force winds in the Indian Ocean. No stranger to overcoming adversity and dealing with obstacles, James’ lectures include the importance of risk management, personal resilience and dealing with setbacks.

Having spent much of his teenage years struggling with no ambition and very little confidence, leaving school with no qualifications and spending most of his early days in bed. James has spent the last ten years passionately working to inspire young people, as well as sharing his lessons learned with companies around the world.

Supporting numerous children’s charities, James is also a Scouting Ambassador and has a passion for supporting young people.


James talks with candour and enthusiasm about his approach to taking on challenges and “without doing anything special” the way he has tackled physical adventures that most of us have only imagined experiencing.

He describes how he set incremental and achievable goals, how he secured sponsorship and support, how he physically prepared himself, and what experiences these challenges threw at him. As James tells his story, the listener will believe that they too could achieve the extraordinary.

As he neared the summit of Everest, James learnt that the last few hundred meters were completed a mere ten steps at a time, until the summit was in reach. With hindsight, this has been a metaphor for his success and the way he lives his life to the full.

James is an accomplished presenter and regularly speaks at events and conferences around the world including, US, India, Europe and the Middle East.


James’ book ‘The Ultimate Triathlon’ was launched in April 2016 and has been endorsed by Bear Grylls. James second book, ‘It’s All Mental’ is due for release in March 2021.

Bear Grylls on James Ketchell