Ascend the Nile Expedition team present Fortnum & Mason with the source of the Nile!
Neil McGrigor, co-leader of the Ascend the Nile team received a warm welcome back to Expedition partners, Fortnum & Mason today. He thanked all of the staff at the world famous store and made a presentation of a bottle containing water from the source of the Nile.
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On Friday 31 March Neil and his team, Cam McLeay and Garth MacIntyre became the first people to pinpoint the longest source of the Nile, located deep in the Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, East Africa. They were also the first to have made a complete ascent of the Nile from sea to source.
Simon Burdess, Buying Director of Fortnum & Mason accepted the gift from the team and promised to find a safe place for the bottle and its precious contents within the Fortnum & Mason archive of expedition memorabilia. Simon was particularly pleased to welcome Neil back to the store as he had been a part of the unusual “farewell” reception at the start of the Expedition in September 2005. On that day Piccadilly had been brought to a halt as one of the Expedition boats had been hoisted aloft on the front canopy of the prestigious store.
Throughout the Expedition’s 80 days Fortnum & Mason had delivered unique Chop Boxes and hampers full of their food and goodies to the team. A number of the hampers were presented to VIP’s along the way including the British Ambassador in Egypt and the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Rwanda, Protais Mitali. One of the more unusual presentations was made to the skipper of a cargo barge in the middle of the Sudd in Sudan. He and his crew had help load the all important fuel for the long trip across the uncharted swamp.
At the welcome reception Neil paid tribute to his team and to the many people who had assisted them throughout the five Countries. He said “I am so proud of the team’s achievement. It was incredibly tough and I am pretty sure no-one else can ever repeat the awesome journey.I am also proud and privileged to have met so many incredible people on this Expedition. Some have been particularly precious to the team and we will never forget them or their assistance”