BSc Business Studies
From Bradford to Bundanoon; a journey to wild horizons
Huw Kingston remembers his time as an undergraduate student at Bradford and his enjoyment of the Yorkshire countryside as drivers for his remarkable career journey. His career has enabled him to travel the world, successfully set up his own business in Australia and to embark on a number of unique adventures and challenges focussed on making a positive difference to the environment. Huw graduated from the Bradford BSc Business Studies programme in 1985.
Trying to decide between a Geography degree and a Business degree, I plumped for the latter in part because I’d been awarded a Graduate Sponsorship by the now defunct British Steel Corporation. They seemed much keener on the Business degree and I was keen to get my hands on the extra beer money the sponsorship would provide during my time at university!
I was at Bradford University School of Management for a fantastic three years from 1982-85. Whilst I very much enjoyed the atmosphere and the study I have to say that I planned from the outset to obtain a ‘Sportsmans Degree’, a 2:2, seeing university as a great opportunity to live life and try new things. In many ways it was these non curricular activities that led me into my career. Rambling, rock-climbing, caving and kayaking in the Yorkshire Dales and further afield began my love of the outdoors and adventure activities.
Following my time at Bradford I took off to Australia for a year of work and play. During this year abroad I resolved to make a career in the outdoor adventure world in some fashion. In Australia, (of all places!), I became addicted to skiing and on the way home to the UK spent three months skiing in the Indian Himalaya, a place that I would go on to visit for skiing every year for a decade or more.
Bradford Business degree a ticket to Australia
My first ‘proper’ job back in the UK was a Sales & Marketing role for an outdoor clothing business but after three years or so I moved to Australia. My BSc from Bradford made this possible. Whilst I had no intention of working as one, economists were on the Occupational Skills list for Australia. So I applied for Australian residency as an economist on the basis of my degree (and some words from me on how keen I was to work in the economic field!). I moved to Australia in 1990 and took up a role as Marketing Manager for Australia’s largest chain of outdoor equipment stores, based in Sydney.
After two very enjoyable years, I left to set up Wild Horizons (www.wildhorizons.com.au) in 1992 and have run this business ever since. In its early years Wild Horizons focussed on consulting in the outdoor equipment field in the design and marketing area. For quite a few years much of the technical clothing produced by well-known UK brand Berghaus was designed by Wild Horizons in Australia. Such work entailed plenty of travel back and fore to Europe, often combined with trips to India on ski expeditions and to run ski tours.
In the mid-nineties we started running mountain bike and other adventure events and were probably Australia’s first organizer of mass participation endurance MTB events. Slowly events took over as the dominant part of the business. We now run some of Australia’s best known and most popular mountain biking events, organize cycling and ski tours and consult in various areas of the outdoor adventure world.
I also write regularly for a range of magazines and am a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.
On a personal level I decided I needed to see a bit more of my adopted country and thus began City2City; 25,000km of walking, skiing, mountain biking, river and ocean kayaking linking each of Australia’s State Capitals in a series of 7 journeys from 1997-2004. Each journey followed the most interesting and challenging human powered route through mountains and deserts, along rivers and coasts.
In 1995 I moved to the small town of Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands of NSW, 2 hours south of Sydney. With a plan to live nowhere for longer than two years I am still there today, with my wife Wendy. Two stepdaughters and five gorgeous grandkids are not too far away in Sydney.
My experiences in the outdoors lead to a huge appreciation of the environment and our impact upon it. A strong belief in real action as a driver of change led me to bring about a number of successful initiatives. In 1991 I conceived and launched ‘Don’t Bag The Environment’ at Paddy Pallin outdoor stores. This initiative, still going over 20 years later, saw 10 cents put towards a selection of environment campaigns each time a customer refused a bag for their purchases. I ensured our Highland Fling (an annual mountain bike marathon event attracting some 2000 riders) into Australia’s first Carbon Neutral cycling event and first bottled water free event.
In 2009 I was the instigator of Bundy on Tap, making Bundanoon, Australia’s (indeed the world’s) First Bottled Water Free Town. This created huge worldwide interest with the media across the world picking up the story. Bundy on Tap in turn has led many individuals and communities to question the madness of bottled water and to look at turning back to the tap. For details on Bundy on Tap see www.bundyontap.com.au. I continue to work with organisations and communities around the world trying to reduce the consumption of the scourge of bottled water.
This environmental work has received a number of awards including being named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Worldwide Responsibility Pioneers and the 2009 news.com.au Green Hero. In 2010 I was awarded the Sharing Citizen prize, judged by a grouping of European Cultural Organizations promoted by the Council of Europe and in 2011 was awarded the Peter Rawlinson Award from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) which recognizes outstanding contribution to the environment.
mediterr année – a journey raising funds for Save the Children
My latest project is mediterr année (www.mediterrannee.com.au), a 15,000km, 20 country, 12 month circumnavigation of the Mediterranean by sea kayak, ski, trekking and mountain bike, raising funds for Save the Children for the work they do with children affected by war and conflict. It also commemorates the 2015 Centenary of Anzac Day, Australia’s most important national occasion.
On 25th April each year Anzac Day is commemorated. On this day in 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in Turkey. There followed a bitter eight-month campaign that saw thousands killed on both sides; Anzacs and Turks. The men who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula created a legend, adding the word ‘Anzac’ to the Australian vocabulary (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) and creating the notion of the Anzac spirit; the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship. Anzac Day in 2015 commemorates the Centenary of this important moment in Australian history and will be a major event for Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.
mediterr année starts from Gallipoli in Turkey on Anzac ay 2014, aiming to return there in time for the Centenary of the Anzac landings on Anzac Day 2015. mediterr année is a huge physical journey, a journey exploring magnificent landscapes, a cultural journey through Mediterranean Europe, North Africa and The Middle East. A journey that it is hoped will raise a lot of money for Save the Children.