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'Human Swan' adventurer Sacha Dench touches down at Johnstons of Elgin during 3000-mile Round Britain Climate Challenge by green-powered paramotor


By Lorna Thompson

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A CONSERVATIONIST adventurer has touched down in Moray during her round-Britain challenge to raise awareness of the effects of climate change.

Known as the "Human Swan", Sacha Dench is attempting a 3,000-plus mile circumnavigation of Britain flying a specially adapted, green electricity powered paramotor.

The biologist is attempting a Guinness World Record for the greatest distance flown by electric paramotor in a 30-day period.

She landed in Moray yesterday to meet staff at luxury cashmere producer Johnstons of Elgin as part of her Round Britain Climate Challenge.

Sacha and her team were greeted at Johnstons of Elgin mill by its chief executive, Simon Cotton.

Sacha Dench at Johnstons of Elgin.
Sacha Dench at Johnstons of Elgin.

The two spoke at length about Johnstons’ sustainability commitments, including the decisions made in sourcing materials, the importance of its unique production process and the innovative uses of wool.

This was followed by a tour of one of the last remaining vertical mills in the UK that still processes the raw cashmere and fine woollen fibres right through to the finished product.

Sacha said: "I am delighted to be meeting with people in Moray who are truly focused on practical answers to the climate crisis – and as such are inspirations to all.

"We’re trying to answer the question: 'We drove the Industrial Revolution. Can we drive the Green Revolution too?'

"As part of this expedition, we have been investigating how climate change is affecting different regions of the country and showing – in a visually stunning and exciting way – what is happening to help cut carbon and preserve and restore our environment."

Sacha Dench is attempting a 3,000-plus mile circumnavigation of Britain flying a green-powered paramotor.
Sacha Dench is attempting a 3,000-plus mile circumnavigation of Britain flying a green-powered paramotor.

Having sadly lost her family home to Australian bushfires, Sasha conceived the expedition to help inspire and excite the nation, enabling people to get involved in tackling the climate crisis.

Lifting off from Glasgow in June, Sacha’s travels have taken her across the south-west through the Lake District, around Wales, the West Country, Devon, Cornwall and the south coast.

She is currently travelling up and along the east coast, including Moray, before she makes her way back to Glasgow via Orkney.

Mr Cotton said: "We are thrilled to welcome Sacha and her team as we share her commitment and passion for climate change.

"The work that Sacha is doing to raise awareness of the crisis and to motivate people to take action is critical to meeting the huge challenge we face.

"As a major employer in Moray and the UK’s largest independent producer of luxury cashmere and fine woollens, we recognise that we have a responsibility and an important role to play. We are cutting our environmental footprint every year but sustainability and protecting our environment is not a new goal for us.

"For 224 years we’ve had the drive to try and do things the right way, but there’s no doubt that the pace has significantly accelerated and, just like Sacha, we want to make sure that we play an active part in driving change."

Johnstons of Elgin, Scotland’s second oldest family business, is current holder of the Queens Award for Sustainable Development.

The company presented Sasha with a number of luxurious cashmere pieces for her expedition.


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