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Woman from Henham, Suffolk, becomes first person to complete 253 mile trek through the Amazon



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A British explorer has become the first person ever to complete an uncharted 253 mile trek through the Amazon.

Lucy Shepherd, 29, dodged jaguars, swarms of wasps and venomous snakes on the never-before-attempted route through the Kanuku mountains in Guyana.

She walked from east to west to reach the Brazilian border in just 50 days, accompanied by her team of four indigenous brothers from local Amerindian tribes.

Lucy Shepherd, 29 from Henham, has completed a 253 mile trek of the Amazon. Picture: SWNS (53309547)
Lucy Shepherd, 29 from Henham, has completed a 253 mile trek of the Amazon. Picture: SWNS (53309547)

The route in jungle-covered Guyana, between Brazil and Suriname, is thought to be one of the last remaining unexplored wildernesses on earth.

Her group crossed mountains up to 1,300 metres high and endless tropical thicket.

The group travelled by foot on their pioneering expedition, spending 17 day periods without sunlight due to the density of the tree canopy.

They encountered dodged jaguars, swarms of wasps and venomous snakes during the trek. Picture: SWNS (53309573)
They encountered dodged jaguars, swarms of wasps and venomous snakes during the trek. Picture: SWNS (53309573)

They encountered hazards like caiman-infested rivers, and had to climb trees to escape 500-strong herds of aggressive peccaries, or wild boars.

This is in addition to run ins with the largest venomous snake in South America, the bushmaster, and spiders bigger than a human head.

For nourishment, Lucy from Henham, Suffolk, foraged and fished with a bow and arrow, and snacked on sardines and local maniok.

They took a never-before-attempted route through the Kanuku mountains in Guyana. Picture: SWNS (53309578)
They took a never-before-attempted route through the Kanuku mountains in Guyana. Picture: SWNS (53309578)

After trekking nearly the entire span of the country, she crossed the finish line after 50 days off-grid, on November 13.

The trip endorsed by the Scientific Exploration Society, of which Lucy is the youngest ever member of their council.

"I'm exhausted but elated," said Lucy.

She crossed the finish line after 50 days off-grid. Picture: SWNS (53309598)
She crossed the finish line after 50 days off-grid. Picture: SWNS (53309598)

"It was a dangerous but unimaginably rewarding journey and to see what we’ve achieved together as a team is just incredible.

"The spirit of everyone involved, from my team to the local villagers and farmers who shared their produce, has kept me buoyant throughout the challenge.

"And to know I have witnessed the beauty of one of last remaining unexplored wildernesses on earth is the reward that will stay with me forever."

Lucy set out from the Essequibo River on September 24. Picture: SWNS (53309603)
Lucy set out from the Essequibo River on September 24. Picture: SWNS (53309603)

Lucy set out from the Essequibo River on September 24, where her raft capsized in the rapids, and she was forced to cling to her rucksack to stay afloat.

The Kanuku Mountains are situated in jungle-covered Guyana, between Brazil and Suriname, and are thought to be one of the last remaining unexplored wildernesses on earth.

The Kanukus are known locally as 'The Mountains of Life' because of the vast biodiversity in flora and fauna.

They have been protected since 2011, but remain under threat due to unsustainable hunting, logging, mining and forest clearing for agricultural purposes.

Lucy's expedition was completed to highlight the need for Protected Areas in Wildlife in light of the extensive deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

She has been partaking in expeditions around the world for over a decade, including scaling the Bolivian Andes and spending ten weeks in glacial Svalbard.

Lucy was made a fellow at the Royal Geographical Society six years ago and is also the youngest ever member of the Scientific Exploration Society Council.

Lucy next plans to face -40°C temperatures with a trek through the Arctic in 2022.