Meet The Team
Neil Hopkinson - Expedition Leader
Neil has been running off road adventures for over twenty five years building up a wealth of knowledge and experience second to none. Neil uses these skills to ensure that you will have an exciting and unforgettable adventure with Impala. He has also driven off-road vehicles since he was 15 years old and in the eighties was a Land Rover test driver, he also set up one of the first Off Road Driving schools in England, training over 500 off road drivers. As well as leading Impala expeditions, Neil is also a Porsche Driving Consultant and is a qualified RosPa driver. Impala Adventures is the embodiment of his dream from childhood to travel in the deserts of the World.
Manley Hopkinson - Expedition Leader
Ex-Naval Weapons Engineering officer Manley Hopkinson has been with Neil from the beginning of Impala Adventures. It was while they were racing in Morocco that a decision was made to start Impala as soon as they got home, which they duly did. Manley has led expeditions to Morocco, England and Wales for Impala. His leadership and navigation skills are immense and over the last few years he has had an insatiable appetite for adventure. Manley skippered the yacht Olympic Group around the World on the BT Global Challenge in 2000. He was also one of the team to win the first Walking race to the North Pole in 2003. All of his exploits are heard by many as he is an after dinner speaker of excellence. www.manleytalks.com
Louise has guided and cajoled Neil during the development of Impala Adventures as she is able to channel his exuberance for life and adventure in the right direction. Her business and interpersonal relationship skills are second to none and she is often the "Agony Aunt" for our clients if they have any concerns both before and during their adventure. Louise's is a very competent off-road driver in her own right, having crossed Lac Iriki by herself once or twice!. Her cooking and camp organisation skills are very welcome by all of the support because she will always have a ready meal and our tents prepared for us after a hard day in the desert.
Alec Stoner- First String Support
Alec joined Impala in the summer of 2001 after enjoying two adventures with us to Morocco and Lybia. He has become a great friend and is one of our best support teams. His expertise lies in his leadership, navigation and search and rescue skills, Alec is a trained cartographer so reading maps is second nature. His caring support, motivation and enthusiasm are skills which enhance every adventure. Alec can always be relied upon to make the right decisions when confronted with a problem on route. Alec is supported by Mel in much the same way as Louise supports Neil.
Steve Pitt - First String Support
Steve has supported adventures to Morocco and Russia with Neil and is another one of our irreplaceable support teams who has become an irreplaceable friend. His quiet confidence and guidance enhance any adventure with Impala. Steve has excellent interpersonal relationship skills which all of our clients appreciate when confronted with a sand storm or crossing a Russian bog in the Kola.
Kirste Pitt(and Thomas)
Kirste has supported her husband Steve in Morocco. She has fantastic corporate skills and we have enjoyed many a glass of wine at their desert camp over an evening meal. She is at the moment taking a couple of years out of supporting as a small boy called Thomas has appeared and in a few years he will become the youngest Impala Support to venture into the Sahara.
Johnny Dover - First String Support
Johnny is one of our best friends who has become one of the irreplacable members of the Impala support team. Johnny completed his training in the soft sand of the Plage Blanche on the Moroccan Atlantic Coast. He comes from a flying background and the discipline and quick thinking needed in the air is put to good effect as Impala Support. Johnny is always smiling and would do so to the ends of the Earth.
John Knights - First String Support
John has supported Impala in The Lake District, Wales and Devon over the last few years. He has an immense amount of experience traveling the Mohab Desert in America as well as in Namibia. John is another one of our team who just gets on with the job and is always in the right place at the right time. He also spends a lot of his time as a senior instructor with The Land Rover Experience in the Lake District.
Robin Dalton - First String Support
I first met Robin in Namibia at the Cardboard Box backpackers lodge whilst I was running a reconnaissance for our first Namibian Adventure. He asked if he could join us and quite frankly has never looked back. He has a quiet strength which clients find very comforting when the dunes are difficult or the day is long. His driving skills are far above his own perception.
Jamie Preston and Helen - First String Support
Jamie has supported our adventures to Morocco a number of times as well as running a couple of Greenlane days here in England for Impala. His Off Road driving skills are second to none and it is always a pleasure to watch him pilot his Land Rover 90 across the dunes of Lac Iriki. James and Helen(we all have these strong girls as our support) specialise in opening a route and very much enjoy finding that special wild camp site, normally requiring a challenging off road drive to get the last hundred meters or so!.
Mark Birch - First String Support
I met Mark in the eighties while I was instructing at Palmersport when he had just left school. He has entered very successfully a number of our Off Road Competitions including the 24Challenge. We have trained Mark in Wales and also Morocco where he was ably tested and came through extremely well, it will not be long before he becomes a fully fledged support for Impala. For 2008 Mark is supporting me in Russia where his Off Road Challenge skills will come to the fore.
Simon Streeter - Second String Support
Simon has supported Impala admirably in England and Wales on our Greenlane events. He can often be found with his Discovery perched in a recovery position on some narrow rocky and slippery track in Devon or Wales. He has a knack of knowing exactly where he should be to assist our clients in their progress through the roadbook. He will shortly be supporting in Morocco and Russia.
Carl Pedlay - Second String Support
Carl supports Simon Streeter, they complement each other and have become an excellent dependable support team in England and Wales. They have been friends from school and as is so often the case came to Impala as clients first. Carl is a qualified Arborist and we have used his chainsaw skills a few times already in the forests of Russia and the woods of England and Wales. They will be supporting Impala in Morocco for 2009.
Peter and Lizze Bacon-Second String Support
Peter and Lizze are our newest support team and are undergoing training over the next year or so. They have joined Impala on an adventure to Morocco as well as Greenlane adventures in England and Wales. It was in Morocco where I asked them to become support because they have all of the qualities needed to be an excellent Impala Team.
Will 'Berber Billy' Renwick -Second String Support
Will is a recent convert to off-roading and would normally be found on the sea rather than in the desert - up until now. A former commander in the Royal Hong Kong Marine Police and a keen sailor, Will's leadership and navigation skills are vital for off-road expeditions, as well as his background in engineering. During a recent trip to Morocco, we almost lost Will to a Berber tribe, and you will find him sleeping under the stars on most nights (except in Wales!)