ADVENTURER Pip Stewart will describe her epic missions in South America at a talk in Helensburgh this coming week.

She’s cycled 10,000 miles from Kuala Lumpur to London in time to start a new job, pedalled and paddled the distance between Brazil and Peru, and most recently kayaked the entire length of the Essequibo River, the largest in Guyana and third-longest in South America.

But, for Pip, these adventures are not just about pushing physical limits, they are opportunities to raise awareness of environmental and human issues that exist in the area.

And this is her ambition as she opens the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s new season of Inspiring People talks in Helensburgh on Thursday, September 27.

In her talk entitled Human Reflections in the Amazon, Pip will share stories and insights from her travels in the region, with a focus on her recent 1,000km kayak down the Essequibo River and the people she met along the way.

Largely unheard of in the UK, the Essequibo is almost entirely untouched by humans. As such, it has a rich flora and fauna playing home to more than 300 unique species of fish.

And, prior to Pip’s expedition, a significant portion of the upper river had never been paddled before, making it one of the last great exploratory wonders of the world with potential for a genuine world record.

Starting in the interior of the country, at the source of the river, the all-female team consisting of Pip, Laura Bingham and Ness Knight were soon required to traverse the imposing Acari Mountains and navigate through remote Wai Wai Lands, the home of the intriguing Wai Wai People, a Carib-speaking Amerindian population who, in Guyana, number just 1,000.

Following this, Pip and the team moved downstream through some of the most fascinating and untouched rainforests in the world, roaring rapids and contentious gold-mining areas.

After two months of challenge, however, the women finally reached their destination on the coast: the mouth of the Essequibo as it spills into the Atlantic Ocean just north of Georgetown.

On arrival, their names entered the record books as they completed a world-first expedition.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. On her return to the UK, Pip’s luck ran out as she was diagnosed with leishmaniasis, a life-threatening vector-borne parasitic disease transmitted by sandflies.

Following a long treatment plan, Pip has returned to good health, though it wasn’t without its struggles as the side-effects – and particularly the skin sores – associated with the illness overwhelmed her.

In spite of the illness, however, the ever-strong Pip said of her upcoming talk: “I am so excited to be coming to Scotland this autumn and it’s an absolute honour to be included in the RSGS Inspiring People programme.

“For me, part of the fun of speaking is actually listening, as I am always interested in what the audience has to say on a particular topic.

“I hope people will stick around for a chinwag and debate after!”

Mike Robinson, chief executive of the RSGS, said: “Pip is a remarkable up-and-coming adventurer, and we are delighted to provide a platform for her insightful and inspiring stories.

"With Guyana at the heart of the talk, I hope the audience in Helensburgh will go away with a better understanding of this rarely talked-about part of the world and a broader awareness of some of the geographical issues that exist.

"Having suffered sandfly bites myself, I am just relieved to hear that Pip has recovered.”

Pip will be speaking at the Victoria Halls in Sinclair Street on Thursday, September 27 at 7.30pm. Tickets will be available on the door or online via Eventbrite until noon the day before. Please see for links and further details.

Tickets are free for RSGS members, U18s and students; £10 for non-members and £8 for Tiso Outdoor Experience Card holders.