Ash Dykes is the first person to walk the length of the 4,000-mile Yangtze river in China

The photos may look like a normal trip, but for British adventurer Ash Dykes it's one of the most daring journeys he's ever attempted.

For these images were taken during an attempt to become the first person to walk the length of Yangtze river.

The long, tiring an potentially dangerous trek began on 26 August 2018, at the headwaters of the Yangtze River on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. 

Over the next 352 days, Ash hiked 6,437 km (3,999 miles 1,348 yards) along the Yangtze river, a journey that would require an estimated eight million steps.

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First photo taken almost one year ago. Second photo, taken yesterday. Same journey, a year apart. I’m still here, grinding away after almost 4,000 miles, walking west to east China, the entire length of the Yangtze River. 💥 I’ve stayed persistent, focussed and not forgotten the dream. The pain, struggle and hardships, nobody will ever know and the lessons, wonders and experiences, will never truly be fully explained. 💥 But come Saturday 10th of August, when I finally cross that finish line, achieving my third world first record after 350 days. I hope it provides some motivation or inspiration that whatever dream or vision YOU have, through discipline, persistence and that dogged never back down attitude - it is all possible to achieve, regardless of the obstacles. Five days left! Let’s get it 💪🏽🤩 #missionyangtze

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He finally reached its mouth in Shanghai on 12 August 2019 to set his record after passing through sub-zero temperatures, avoiding wolves and bears, traversing treacherous valleys and enjoying some of China's historic cities.

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The Yangtze, the longest river with its entire drainage system in one country, has its source in the "roof of the world", which is more than 5,100 m above sea level. 

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Kung-Fu ✊🏽👊🏽 A blessed experience, the past couple of days I’ve taken the time out to visit Changchun cave temple and learn a small bit of Kung-Fu Tai Chi. The five elements:- fire, water, wind, metal & earth. Tai chi is about mastering your inner and outer energy, taking your mind to a state of nothingness, a form of meditation of steady, controlled and relaxed movements and being at one with yourself and your surroundings. 💥 I could relate a lot to this, although what I do is very physical, eventually when you hit a certain barrier where all your senses are at their limit, you hit a particular master level, which allows you to break into a zone, where your body begins to flow, despite the pains and difficulties. You awaken your inner Chi, your energy and understand your mind and body better than ever before and when you reach this - you yourself have awoken. #missionyangtze

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The Yangtze river has played a big role in the development of Chinese civilization, with sites dating back thousands of years found near its banks. These ancient cultures, and their subsequent discoveries, have helped influence the country’s culture over the millennia.

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Yangtze River! Here’s some of my most memorable photos during the first half (2,000 miles) of the mission. 💥 • From first snowfall at 5,100+m •The first bend of the river. •Washing in the glacial waters. •Being released by the police and retrieving Castor Troy. •Camping up in the wild and setting off fire crackers to keep the wild yak at bay. •Camping in bear country and trying to hide within an abandoned village.😆 •Learning Kung-Fu Tai Chi and experiencing the Bi minorities way of life. 💥 The list goes on and on, there is so much I’ve learnt about this country and I can’t wait to experience another 2,000 miles of it, to where the Yangtze River pours into the East China Sea. So cool to share this all live time! Social media and technology is insane, have you wondered how I have so much internet connectivity!? I’ve had so many people write in asking for info on certain topics and this is great, I write them down in my notes and look to create blogs or posts on that topic. Is there anything you’d like to know more about? P.s, I have a food blog coming out soon, so look out for it 😃 #MissionYangtze #MissionPossible

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Ash spent two years preparing for his daring record. Along the way he encountered cold temperatures and wild animals in some of China's remotest areas. 

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Welcome to Qutang Gorge (瞿塘峽). This is the shortest (5miles long), but the most beautiful of China’s three gorges, just downstream of the ancient village Baidicheng (白帝城). 🐒 The point where the river passes between these mountains is called the Kuimen Gate (夔門) and it is the entrance to the Qutang Gorge - the first of the three Yangtze gorges. The narrowest point is 150m, yet its sandwiched between two mountains reaching around 1,200m! 🐒 I was interviewed by the local TV station at this location, really wasn’t expecting it - but this is the image that first pops up on google when you type in “Yangtze River”, it threw me right back to the planning stages and sent me into a deep thinking process, of how far I’ve come! Meanwhile, the wild monkeys dropped by 🐒❣ #missionyangtze

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But he also received help and blessings from locals with people enthusiastically joining him on his hikes or inviting him to their homes and helping him in any way they could.

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Speaking after completing his journey, Ash said: "This has been more than a personal achievement; it is unlocking human potential and showcasing that in a world where every corner of the planet is occupied by people, there are still things that haven’t been done.  

"I’ve shared my journeys with millions around the world, with the message 'if I can, then you can too'. We must enjoy this world we live in, but also highlight issues, showcase the positives and most importantly, protect it.

"It has also been from just a challenging journey, as it’s been a cultural one too.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to experience the wonderful hospitality, traditions and cultures of the people of China, both rural and urban, in all its diversity.  China has really taken me to its heart and I’m overwhelmed by the support I’ve received across the country."

Ash said he had experienced many new things and met warm and friendly friends during his trip and was looking forward to another adventure in China.

What will your adventure be?

Feeling inspired to attempt a Guinness World Records title yourself after reading about Ash's journey? Discover your Spirit of Adventure by finding out more about GWR Day, including how you can get involved on the day itself (Thursday 14 November). We realise everyone’s adventure is different (and not everyone wants to jump out of a plane!), so whether it's taking on a new challenge, fulfiling a desire for adrenaline or perfecting your existing skills – there's a record waiting for you.