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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 286 > FROM ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER

FROM ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER

ADVENTURER AND EXTREME ATHLETE GAVAN HENNIGAN IS AT EASE W ITH HIMSELF. BUT THAT W ASN’T ALW AYS THE CASE AS CRIPPLINGLY LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND A STRUGGLE TO ACCEPT BOTH HIS SEXUALITY AND HIS SEXUAL PREFERENCE LED HIM DOW N A PATH OF ALMOST FATAL SELF-DESTRUCTION
Gavan wears vest by M & S Collection

Gavan Hennigan is telling me what it’s like to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. “Night time can be particularly hard, especially when there’s no moon,” he says in his soft Irish accent. “It gets very dark and the energy out there is insane because there’s nobody around. It’s tough. At one stage the closest people to me were on the International Space Station orbiting overhead.”

Over the past 10 years, 36-year-old Gavan has climbed high-altitude peaks in the Himalayas, mountaineered in the Antarctic, and is one of only a handful of people to have crossed frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia on foot. There isn’t a continent on the planet where he hasn’t undertaken an extreme adventure.

He’s like a gay Bear Grylls — only hotter.

But it’s the solo row across the Atlantic, which he completed earlier this year, of which he’s most proud. In 49½ days, he rowed from the Canaries to the Caribbean, covering a distance of 3,000 miles

“I like testing myself and seeing how tough I really am, how much can I put up with physically, how much can I put up with mentally,” he says. “And that’s what the row represented to me when I first thought of it. I thought: ‘Well that’s scar y because it’s so big and so long’.

“Before I did it, it was something bigger than me. And then to be able to sort of conquer that in a way, to do that was hugely empowering.”

We’re chatting on his recent visit to London, after Gavan’s exclusive photoshoot for Attitude. He’s sparky, bright and intelligent — and it’s clear from the smile on his face that adventuring is his passion.

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About Attitude

TO THE EXTREME Adventurer and extreme athlete Gavan Hennigan is at ease with himself. But that wasn’t always the case as cripplingly low self-esteem and a struggle to accept both his sexuality and his sexual preference, led him down a path of almost fatal self-destruction.
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