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British adventurer about to complete Amazon trek

August 9th, 2010

Ed Stafford is walking the length of the Amazon river Photo: KEITH DUCATEL

A former British army captain is about to finish the longest jungle trek in history after completing a 6,000 mile expedition along the Amazon River.

Ed Stafford, 34, is expected to arrive at Maruda Beach in Belem on the Atlantic coast of Brazil after 859 days hacking through some of the most difficult terrain in the world.

The former Afghanistan war veteran began his epic journey near the Pacific Ocean at Camana in Peru in April 2008 and had been expecting to complete the 4,000 mile journey in one year.

But huge detours caused by flooding more than doubled his schedule and added an extra 2,000 miles to his route.

The former Dorset and Devonshire Light Infantry Officer, who has used his walk to raise awareness of environmental issues and collect money for charity, said he was relieved it was finally almost over.

Speaking via satellite phone from the rainforest, he said: “Day-to-day getting up and putting on the wet clothes is tough. The endurance both mental and physical has been the thing that’s been the most wearing.”

Mr Stafford will become the first person to successfully complete the journey and has proved doubters, who said it could not be done, wrong.

British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who climbed Everest at the age of 62 and was the first person to cross Antarctica on foot, said that Mr Stafford had achieved the impossible.

“Ed Stafford’s achievement in walking from the Pacific, over the Andes and along the entire length of the Amazon to the Atlantic is truly extraordinary,” he said.

Mr Stafford averaged around 3.4mph a day as he trudged through the dense and difficult terrain.

During his trip his tent was eaten by ants, he was wrongly accused of murder on two separate occasions and he was chased by Ashaninka Indians with bows and arrows.

He has also been bitten by mosquitos an estimated 50,000 times.

The adventurer from Mowsley, Leicestershire, is due to fly back to Britain on Wednesday and is most looking forward to a pint of beer and a plate of fish and chips.

By Martin Evans

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