Tales from the Russian Arctic in Sunny Cornwall, by Claire Harrison
As part of the Wild Night Out 2019, Sacha Dench shared her story of her ‘Flight of the Swans’ expedition at a camp-out in the beautiful Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall. During her career as a conservationist, adventurer and motivational speaker Sacha has led the Australian freediving team, beat the world record for breath hold and become the ‘human swan’ migrating over 4,000 miles from arctic Russia to the UK, but of course all of this is nothing compared to attempting to travel South on the M5 on a sunny Saturday.
Having flown in from Russia that very morning, Sacha made the trip to Cornwall from London, demonstrating a tenacity inherent to only a seasoned adventurer, when she stepped up to the microphone ready to give a talk without her usual PowerPoint slides and with only a quick swig of coffee to keep her going.
A crowd gathered and settled in to hear tales of adventure in the Russian Arctic, the children eager to find out just what that large chair with a propeller on really was.
Relating to a story about flying over 10 countries from Russia to the UK with just a paramotor strapped to you for comfort is hard to imagine when you’re sat with a beer in sunny Cornwall, but Sacha brought the journey to life, asking her audience to imagine how it felt to be totally alone in the sky with only swans for company, nothing below you but sea, and nothing to comfort you apart from occasionally crossing your legs or reaching to check your emergency parachute is still present.
An eager yet slightly nervous volunteer agreed to try on the paramotor, so Sasha could explain how the propeller worked, and to his relief she decided against a live demonstration.
Sacha’s inspirational tale was followed by music from Cornish favourite Arthur Connington, after which there was still just enough daylight to enjoy some cave exploring and a nearby swimmable rockpool before marvelling at a beautiful Cornish sunset.