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The Spare Seat Expedition

New York State Division of Tourism’s UK office teamed up with British expeditioner Richard Harpham and fellow adventurer and photographer Glenn Charles who together embarked on an epic journey of more than 500 miles by kayak across the beautiful landscapes of New York State.


The expedition which started on May 1, 2012, took approximately one month to complete and focused on the heritage, culture, wildlife, iconic locations, communities and waterways along the route. The journey began at Buffalo and took in world-renowned beauty spot Niagara Falls. Richard and Glenn then kayaked along the picturesque Erie Canal with its 35 locks, before reaching Albany and joining the Hudson River. They paddled south to Manhattan, completing the expedition at the iconic Statue of Liberty.

The expedition is entitled ‘The New York State Spare Seat Kayak Expedition’ as both Richard and Glenn kayaked the route in doubled seated kayaks, inviting community members along the route to join them. They met the communities, held talks, coached about kayaking, and attended community generated events that helped promote local efforts to enjoy and protect New York state waterways.

The spare seat on one of the two kayaks was made available for local personalities, leadership and representatives of the media to be part of the trip, and those participants were interviewed and videoed/photographed.

The entire expedition was photographed and filmed and followed on the dedicated website www.thespareseat.com  with social media feeds allowing people to follow Richard, Glenn and all those that joined them every stroke of the way.

A competition was also running offering two lucky winners the chance to join the team for three days in the spare seat followed by two nights in New York City. The money-cant-buy prize was courtesy of New York State Division of Tourism, Delta Airlines and Travelbag. Runner-up prizes included Vango rucksacks, Paramo Clothing and Olympus Cameras.

Richard has completed 5,000 miles of human power, kayaking, canoeing and cycling.  He has kayaked The Inside Passage (Seattle to Alaska), canoed the Yukon River and kayaked and cycled from London to Marrakech via Gibraltar’s Ocean Village. He also managed the Ghana Ski Team to the Vancouver Winter Olympics.



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