Event Detail


A Long Walk in Search of the British

David Taylor-Smith, MBE, FRGS Founder of the Royal Geographical Society-Hong Kong
Thursday, 2 Nov 2023
Complimentary Free-Flow Drinks from 6:30 pm; Talk at 7:30 pm
Ladies Recreation Club. 10 Old Peak Road, Hong Kong

The Royal Geographical Society – Hong Kong is proud to welcome back our Founder, David Taylor-Smith, who recently walked 2,500 km up the entire length of Britain.  In a beautifully illustrated talk, he shares his findings on what it means to be British today and what shaped the nation’s collective identity.

Embarking on an awe-inspiring trip spanning 2,500 km, David set forth on a remarkable expedition that would take him on a captivating journey, traversing the entire length of the United Kingdom.  From the picturesque Scilly Isles warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream, to the rugged and untamed Northern tip of the Shetland Islands, and even venturing into the captivating landscapes of Northern Ireland, David’s mission was nothing short of remarkable.

Driven by a curiosity to comprehend the essence of modern British identity, David delved into the heart of the British nation.  He sought to unravel the intricate threads that have woven together to shape Britain’s collective sense of self and defined the British as a people.

In his captivating and visually stunning presentation, David paints a vivid picture of his ardent expedition.  With each step, he discovered the profound impact of the environment on the British national character.  Yet, it was not only the natural world that influenced the British collective identity.  David recognises the significant role played by modern Britons’ ancestors and the historical events that have shaped the British nation's extraordinary destiny.

David Taylor-Smith, MBE, FRGS is a former soldier, expedition leader and businessman.  He served in the British army in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany, and in Namibia when it became independent.  David resided in Hong Kong for many years, and was a senior executive at the Jardine Group.  He is also a former Chief Executive Officer and a FTSE 100 Board Director, and has run businesses in more than 70 countries. 

David also led expeditions in Africa and South America for Operation Raleigh.  During his expedition days he: walked across Panama twice and was kidnapped by Cuban Guerrillas;  completed the first ever descent of the Rio Simpson in Chile from source to sea; canoed the length of the Okavango Delta in Botswana; helicoptered into an active volcano in Patagonia;  and he and his wife climbed the Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world.

David now chairs businesses and advises Private Equity Companies and supports a variety of charities.  He is a trustee of the Churchill Fellowship, a member of the advisory board of the Scientific Exploration Society, is a WWF Fellow, and is an advisor to the Royal Hospital Chelsea and RE:ACT Disaster Response.  His long United Kingdom walk raised nearly £20,000 for RE:ACT’s work in Ukraine. 

Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$200 for RGS Members and HK$250 for guests and others, including complimentary free-flow drinks. 

The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to
 Ladies' Recreation Club as the Venue Sponsor of this talk.

The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong. 

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