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Barry Gray (Baz) is a modern-day explorer and adventurer specialising in extreme cold climates. Barry is currently planning the Solo Unsupported and Unassisted crossing of the Antarctic continent from Coast to Coast in 2024, a journey still yet to be completed, if successful, this will be a world first.

Barry was always an adventurous spirit growing up, very much the outdoor type. He enjoyed almost every type of sport and excelled in quite a few of them. His true-life adventure started as a 16-year-old when he applied to join the Royal Marine Commandos. Before he reached his eighteenth birthday, he had completed the world’s toughest military basic training course and took his place amongst the UK’s finest soldiers.

The Royal Marines are the UK’s specialists in Mountain and Cold Weather training. All Royal Marines go through this training but it’s a unique and special group of marines that deliver the training, they are known as the Mountain Leader Branch. Barry applied for the gruelling and extremely challenging course in 1998 and was a fully trained Mountain Leader instructor 10 months later. Barry then went on to become the Chief Instructor of this very special group in 2007.

Barry’s career saw him deployed on Operational tours to Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As a Royal Marine and Mountain Leader, he has travelled the globe including the Himalayas, Norway, European Alps, The Andes, USA, Oman, Brunei, and Antarctica to name but a few.

Barry decided to leave the Royal Marines in December 2016 after 26 years, achieving the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM).

Amongst his passions are polar history, especially the heroic age, and in 2013 he took part in the successful Shackleton Epic expedition in which he was part of the team that authentically re-enacted Shackleton’s 1916 escape from Elephant Island and crossing of South Georgia. One of the most remarkable Survival stories ever told. The journey can be seen as a three-part documentary on Discovery Channel called “Shackleton Death or Glory”.

Barry also skied Solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 2018-19 covering 730 miles in only 38 days making him the third quickest person in history to do so. This was part one of a two part plan to be the first man to ski Solo and Unsupported, without any assistance, to cross the entire Antarctic continent from sea to sea via the South Pole.

Barry lives near Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, where he can often be seen training for future adventures with his best friend Royal, his German shepherd dog. He is married to Claire and has 3 children, Stephen 29, George 27 and Mia 17.


"I came across Baz by chance through a mutual acquaintance. I’m not convinced that ‘corporate speakers’ always add value, so I was a little sceptical. I was looking for somebody to share their experience on Leadership at our Annual Management Conference, but I didn’t want a theoretical lecture. Baz and I spoke for some time on the phone, I got a really good feeling and felt that he was what I was looking for and he certainly didn’t disappoint!


The hour-long talk was intertwined between his own experiences as a Royal Marine and being a member of The Shackleton Epic Expedition. I was amazed at his ability to bring to the fore the key principles of Leadership through his unique story telling ability. Not once did we feel we were getting a lecture on leadership and time flew by. Baz spent the rest of the day contributing to the various working groups and throughout the evening continuing to share his experiences and answering individual questions. By the end of the evening, he felt like one of the team. He received nothing but praise and positive feedback from all the delegates in attendance.


I would highly recommend Baz and was so impressed that we have committed to working with him in the future. I wish him all the best for the future in whatever incredible personal challenges he sets for himself!"

Andries Liebenberg, Managing Director Amco

"Baz Gray took the audience on a journey of incredible challenge and hardship in recalling Shackleton’s epic adventure and his own re-enactment of Shackleton’s 1916 escape from Elephant Island and the crossing of South Georgia. Baz is an ex-Royal Marine and Mountain leader who walks the talk. His next challenge is the single-handed crossing of Antarctica, a feat never before accomplished. Baz’s storytelling leaves you wanting more."

Martin Parnel, Ted Speaker, Writer and multi-Guinness World Record Holder

"As I listened to Baz recount his breathtakingly extraordinary story of the recreation of one the world’s most epic stories of human survival, I heard the words of Sir Ernest Shackleton. I heard the words of Sir Ernest because they were being spoken by a man of equal spirit and steel. I heard the words of Sir Ernest because, like Shackleton, they were being spoken by a humble, selfless leader blessed with the strength of character to never give up.  


“By successfully guiding his six-man team through the unprecedented challenges of their unsupported recreation of Sir Ernest’s 15-day 800-mile sea passage from Elephant Island, on the edge of Antarctica, to South Georgia in a tiny replica ‘whaler’ boat followed by the 20-mile scaling of the South Georgia’s mountainous peaks, Baz conquered impossible odds. In telling his story he captured our inspired wonderment and respect.  What a story; what a man.” 

Lieutenant-General Edward Davis CB CBE, Governor of Gibraltar and Commander-in-Chief 

"An articulate, focused and inspiring public speaker……. Well what else would you expect from such an accomplished Mountain Leader, Royal Marine"

Christian Stanley, Casualty Executive, Performance Management Directorate, Lloyds

"Baz has been a great inspirational speaker for our team, partners and friends. He has been able to inspire all who have heard his story and the range of experiences that he has had in dealing with the great challenges that he has embarked on. He has successfully transitioned his long-term career in the military to being a truly great speaker. I see Baz as a coach, an advisor and a catalyst to help drive increased performance with a sense of enjoyment across our team."

Keith Breslauer, Managing Director & Senior Partner, Patron Capital

"Oakwood School have been transported to the Antarctic world through Barry’s passionate and inspirational visits, bringing us the opportunity to see, touch, hear and feel the magic of Antarctica.  Barry’s personal determination, dedication and knowledge of the Antarctic is truly incredible and shines through in his workshops; our children have all relished learning more about his challenge and the Antarctic world.  Barry’s warm and approachable manner with the children has led to tremendous engagement with Challenge Antarctica and has also highlighted many of the life skills we would like our children to develop – Barry’s personal drive, passion and lifelong ambition to achieve his dream have certainly been brought alive and inspired us all.  As the challenge gathers pace we look forward to following Barry’s every step towards achieving this dream"

Mrs Clare Bradbury


"Baz Gray’s visit to GES was truly inspirational. He enthralled us with stories of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and with the courage and leadership skills of former explorers such as Ernest Shackleton. He was equally at ease speaking with our younger pupils and leading a workshop at GES Secondary. His visit has really captured the imagination of everyone at the school. Both children and staff are keen to embark on a number of interdisciplinary and cross-age projects through which we will discover more about the geography, ecology and wildlife of the fascinating continent of Antarctica. We can’t wait for Barry’s next visit later this term when he will tell us more about his preparation, training and equipment for the exciting expedition that lies ahead. We feel hugely privileged to be part of Challenge Antarctica. As Baz said, fewer people have been to the South Pole than have been into Space, so this is a rare and exciting opportunity for us."

Tim Meunier – Headmaster

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